PHOENIX (AP) — A woman charged with killing her lover broke down in tears Monday as she described for jurors how her relationship with the victim included satisfying his "deviant" sexual urges and how he once beat her, kicked her in the ribs and broke her finger.
Jodi Arias, 32, has spent four days on the witness stand recounting her troubled childhood marred by abuse at the hands of her parents, a string of bad relationships, and how Travis Alexander belittled her, cheated on her, call her derogatory names and used her to fulfill his sexual fantasies.
Arias will return to the stand Tuesday for a fifth day of testimony. She faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in Alexander's 2008 killing.
Prosecutors claim she killed Alexander in a jealous rage, stabbing and slashing him 27 times, slitting his throat and shooting him in the head.
Arias says it was self-defense after initially telling authorities she wasn't there. She then blamed it on masked intruders. She now claims Alexander attacked her, forcing her to fight for her life.
Arias told jurors Monday that she continued to date Alexander, even while believing he was cheating on her, because she had low "self-esteem."
"I was kind of a door mat," Arias said, staring sheepishly at jurors.
She later explained how Alexander once beat her, pushed her to the ground, kicked her in the ribs and broke her finger, then in a theatrical moment for the jury, raised her hand to display her crooked digit.
Arias testified she never sought medical treatment because she was worried authorities would get involved, and that Alexander instead made a split for her hand at his home. She said she was later ashamed of herself.
"I used to think that women in situations like that, that it was partially, if not equally, their fault because they kept staying there," Arias said. "I went home and was disgusted with myself. I thought, 'Great, now I'm one of those people.'"
She also described how she once awoke from sleeping in his bed to find the victim having sex with her, an incident for which she felt responsible.
"I went to sleep next to him. I was wearing a T-shirt, cute shorts," Arias said.
She has repeated throughout her testimony that Alexander made her feel like a prostitute, and how she fulfilled his fantasies, including wearing boy's underwear and having sex in public. She also told jurors Alexander admitted to having sexual desires for young boys.
Julie Haslem, a friend of Alexander who has been watching the trial, called Arias' testimony "ridiculous."
"She can say whatever she wants, but Travis isn't here to speak for himself," Haslem said outside the court. "It's bad enough that she took his life. Now she's trying to take his reputation, too."
During previous testimony, Arias described for jurors how Alexander made repeated sexual advances while converting her into the Mormon faith during their initial courtship. She said she didn't tell him to stop, but the sex made her uncomfortable because she felt it violated the teachings of Mormonism.
She said she first met him in Las Vegas in late 2006, and that they stayed together for about five months before she broke it off, but they continued to see each other for sex.
Arias claims she went to Alexander's home on June 4, 2008, the day of the killing, at his urging. Alexander's friends said she stalked him and became possessive and jealous.
Authorities said they found Arias' hair and bloody palm print at the scene, along with time-stamped photographs in a camera discovered inside Alexander's washing machine. Investigators also say Alexander was shot in the head with a .25 caliber gun, the same caliber Arias' grandparents reported stolen from their Northern California home.