PHOENIX – The prosecutor pounded his hand on the table to make his point and alternated between a loud demeanor and a soft-spoken, cordial tone as he called Jodi Arias a manipulative liar and displayed bloody crime-scene photos in the courtroom.
The images were too much to watch for Arias and family members of victim Travis Alexander. They sobbed, buried their hands in their face or otherwise looked away as the photos were displayed on a giant screen.
"This was a strike to kill, right at the neck," Martinez said.
Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2008 stabbing and shooting death of Alexander, her on-and-off-again boyfriend, in a case that has become a tabloid and cable TV sensation. If convicted on that charge, she could get a death sentence, but jurors could find her guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, which would save her life but put her in prison.
Authorities say Arias planned the attack on Alexander in a jealous rage after he wanted to end their relationship and prepared for a trip to Mexico with another woman. Arias initially denied any involvement in the killing then later blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed him in self-defense. Her lawyers will present their closing arguments Friday.
"This is an individual who will stop at nothing, and who will continue to be manipulative and will lie at every turn," Martinez said.
Arias' demeanor changed as the day went on. She began the day unemotionally scribbling notes with a pencil, even flashing a smirk as the prosecutor described her apparently faking an orgasm on a phone sex chat with her former lover, and gently shook her head on another occasion. But once Martinez got to the photos, she was in tears.
Alexander's sisters and other family members cried at various points, dabbing their tears with tissues.
"It's like a field of lies that has sprouted up around her as she sat on the witness stand," Martinez said of Arias, who previously spent 18 days testifying. "Every time she spat something out, another lie."
The trial has attracted a global following with its tales of sex, betrayal, violence and religion, and people from all around the country have traveled to Phoenix to see the case in person. On Thursday, people lined up at 2 a.m. to get a seat in the courtroom through a lottery. Only two rows in the gallery were available for the public.
The judge earlier provided instructions to jurors that allowed them to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter, along with first-degree and second-degree murder. That means the jury will essentially have four choices: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter or acquittal.
A first-degree conviction could lead to a death sentence and requires the jury to believe it was a premeditated act. The basic standard for second-degree murder is that the defendant intentionally caused the death of another person, largely in the heat of the moment without prior planning, and carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison. Manslaughter has a much lower standard and sentence.
Martinez worked to build his first-degree murder case by providing examples in which he says Arias planned out her attack weeks in advance. He said she stole the .25 -caliber gun used in the attack from her grandparents' home where she was staying in Yreka, Calif., two days after a heated text-message exchange between Arias and Alexander. In that exchange, Alexander described her as a "sociopath" and "evil."
"How absolutely prophetic," Martinez said.
He said she rented a car at an airport in Northern California for her road trip to visit to Alexander at his home in Arizona. Martinez noted that the rental car agent offered her a red car, but she refused because she thought that color might attract tickets. "She's on a mission, a mission to kill somebody," he said.
Martinez also said Arias obtained three gas cans in California that she filled up in Pasadena, and also turned off her cellphone before she reached Arizona. The prosecutor said that with no phone power and enough gas to drive to Mesa and back, Arias was hoping there would be no proof she was ever in Arizona around the time she killed Alexander.
He said such actions are those of someone committing first-degree, premeditated murder.
Arias' lies and peculiar behavior, meticulously creating an alibi to avoid suspicion within hours of Alexander's death, have been at the heart of the prosecution's case. Arias said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth at the time and didn't want to sully Alexander's name by revealing their raunchy sex and his violent episodes.
Arias says Alexander had grown physically abusive in the months before she killed him, once even choking her into unconsciousness, but she kept seeing him because she was in love.
However, there has been no evidence or testimony during the trial to corroborate her stories that Alexander was violent or owned a gun -- the very gun she says she used to shoot him.
The defense has portrayed Alexander as a cheating womanizer who used Arias for sex and abused her physically and emotionally.
Prosecutors have depicted Arias as an obsessed ex-girlfriend who couldn't come to grips with the ending relationship.
Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead, and had his throat slit. Arias' palm print was found in blood at the scene, along with nude photos of her and the victim from the day of the killing.
She said she recalls Alexander attacking her in a fury after a day of sex. She said she ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf and fired in self-defense but has no memory of stabbing him.
Arias said she didn't take her grandparents' gun, which disappeared a week before the killing. It has never been found.
Arias has acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi, even attending a memorial service for Alexander before her arrest in July 2008.