Phoenix lawyer: 'Today's a huge day' in Arias trial

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 20 at 7:20 PM

PHOENIX -- It's the day the jury and trial watchers have been waiting for -- accused murderer Jodi Arias is going to tell everybody what led up to Travis Alexander's gruesome death and explain exactly why she killed him.

"Today is the climax of Jodi Arias' testimony," Phoenix criminal defense attorney Jason Lamm told Scott Pasmore and Kaley O'Kelley Wednesday morning.

After several days on the stand, the woman charged with first-degree murder in the brutal killing of her ex-boyfriend finally started answering her lawyer's questions about the day Alexander died.

Jodi Arias murder trial stories

Up until now, the focus of Arias' testimony has been on her life and the repeated abuse she says she endured at the hands of her family and the men in her life. The defense is laying the groundwork for its assertion that Arias killed Alexander in self defense.

The prosecution has a very different theory, painting Arias as a cold-blooded scorned woman.

When the trial resumes Wednesday, Arias is expected to answer questions about Alexander's death and what led to it.

"It's going to be a big day in court," Lamm said.

"Maybe she's telling the truth. Maybe she's not. But so much rides on her version of what happened in that bathroom that afternoon," 3TV's Mike Watkiss said. He's been in the courtroom since the trial began Jan. 2. "She's really got to lay out a believable scenario about that afternoon -- that she felt in jeopardy and she defended herself. If she doesn't do that, she's in deep trouble."

Lamm said he believes prosecutor Juan Martinez should focus on the crime scene and the physical evidence when he finally gets to question Arias.

"Everything else is subjective. Forensics, they don't lie," Lamm said. "If I were cross examining her, that's how I would box her in, and then I would unload on the experts."

"This cross examination is fraught with peril," Watkiss said.

Martinez is known for his aggressive cross-examinations. If he gets too rough with Arias, it could generate sympathy for her in the jury panel, and it only takes one vote to hang the verdict.

"[H]e has to be careful because if he is too aggressive, if he is too powerful, that one juror could get the sympathy because he may even liken himself to the men that have abused her [Arias] over the years by pushing her around too much," Lamm said in a previous discussion. "He's walking a real fine line. He can get the job done, but, you know, be careful."

A first-degree murder conviction could mean the death penalty for Arias. If the jury opts to convict on the lesser charge of second-degree murder, the maximum sentence is 22 years in prison.

You can watch the court proceedings live on azfamily.com and on the 3TV News App for iPhone and iPad.

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