PHOENIX – Jurors in the trial of a woman charged in the stabbing and shooting death of her lover watched a videotaped interrogation of the suspect Wednesday during which she insists she didn't kill the man, but notes if she had, she would have killed him quickly and humanely.
Jodi Arias is charged with murder in the June 2008 death of her on-again-off-again boyfriend Travis Alexander. If convicted, she could get the death penalty, becoming just the fourth woman on Arizona's death row.
Authorities say she stabbed and slashed Alexander nearly 30 times, slitting his throat from ear to ear, and shot him in the head around June 4, 2008, at his Mesa home. His body was found five days later in his shower.
She first told police she knew nothing of the killing. Later she said two intruders burst into the home and killed him while she managed to escape. She now admits to the killing, but claims she had to defend herself against an enraged and abusive Alexander.
Jurors on Wednesday watched a videotaped interrogation of Arias, 32, after her arrest. A detective grilled Arias, explaining that all the evidence points to her. She insisted she did not kill him.
Mesa police detective Esteban Flores continued to press her on the tape.
"You shot him in the head, then you got a knife and you stabbed him," Flores said. "Jodi, tell me the truth, please."
"I did not kill Travis," Arias replied.
However, she said if she were to have killed him, she couldn't have stabbed him. It would have been too cruel.
"I don't think I could stab him. I think I would have to shoot him until he was dead if that were my intentions," Arias told the detective. "But I would have to wear gloves.
"If I had it in me to kill him, the least I could have done was make it as humane as possible," she added.
Authorities say Alexander was shot in the head with a .25-caliber handgun, the same caliber gun Arias and her grandparents reported stolen from their Northern California home about a week before the killing. Arias was staying with them at the time.
Authorities say they found sexual photographs in a camera inside Alexander's home that place Arias there on the day he was killed. The photos, displayed for jurors this week during her trial in Phoenix, show Arias nude in Alexander's home, Alexander alive in the shower, then his dead body in the bathroom. Police say the photos are time-stamped on the day he was killed.
Detectives say Arias' bloody palm print and hair also were found at the scene. None of the weapons used in the killing has been recovered.
Prosecutors say Arias came prepared to kill the 30-year-old devout Mormon, businessman and motivational speaker, and neglected to call police after leaving behind a crime scene that investigators described as among the most gruesome they'd ever seen. They say she attacked him in a jealous rage after he broke up with her. She says she broke up with him after about five months of dating, but the two continued to see each other sexually.
Arias' attorney, Jennifer Willmott, told jurors in opening statements that Alexander "lunged at Jodi in anger" on the day he was killed, and she had to defend herself.
The trial resumes Thursday and is expected to last until April.