Is Jodi Arias Trying to Using Mormon Religion as Defense for Murder?

Testimony resumed today in the trial of Jodi Arias, who is charged in the murder of her lover, Travis Alexander. Arias is accused of killing Alexander in his Arizona home after spending the day having sex and taking explicit photographs. Arias faces the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree murder.

In a shocking decision, Arias took the stand in her own defense on Monday and continued to portray her ex-lover to jurors as a controlling womanizer and someone who simply used her for sex. She additionally claimed to have woken up from a deep sleep one day to find Alexander on top of her, having sexual intercourse. She claimed the sexual encounter took place in May 2007, which is around one year before Alexander was murdered.

In her testimony Monday, she also told jurors that she did not attempt to fight Alexander off, but was extremely uncomfortable, as she believed they were violating the teachings of the Mormon Church. Mormons believe that sex should take place only after entering into marriage.

Arias previously told jurors that Alexander had made multiple sexual advances early in their relationship and he forced her to convert to the Mormon faith during their relationship. She has also claimed that Alexander, a devout Mormon, talked her into becoming a member of the Mormon Church, even performing her baptism in late 2006.

While answering questions from defense attorney, Kirk Nurmi, Arias stated that she did not fight Alexander off, as she felt partly to blame for what was happening.

"I felt like I was partially responsible because I went to sleep next to him. I was wearing a T-shirt, cute shorts. I just felt like being in his bed, sleeping there, it wasn't entirely his fault, like maybe it was invited."

During Arias' defense testimony, her attorneys have repeatedly brought up Arias' Mormon faith and beliefs. While painting Arias as a victim, Alexander appears to be a domineering personality, portrayed as someone who belittled and bullied her throughout the course of their five-month relationship.

Interestingly, Arias has changed her story multiple times, telling authorities initially that she was not present at the murder scene at all, only to change her story and blame the murder on unknown masked intruders. She finally decided to go with the self-defense plea, claiming Alexander attacked her and she killed him as a last resort as she was fighting for her life.

Meanwhile, prosecutors claim Arias killed Alexander during a fit of jealous rage, stabbing and slashing into his body 27 times. She allegedly slit his throat and shot him in the head. Alexander's friends also claim that Arias stalked Alexander after they broke up and she became extremely possessive and jealous.

Defense attorneys for Arias are still in the process of making their case. Interestingly, they have yet to provide a solid defense to the prosecution's accusation that Arias attempted to clean the murder scene by washing Alexander’s bedding, hiding each of the murder weapons and then dumping the memory card that held the incriminating photos of her into the washing machine.

(New York Daily News)


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