Arias breaks down in tears on witness stand

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Viewer discretion is advised. Graphic images and testimony.

PHOENIX -- If prosecutor Juan Martinez was looking to elicit tears from confessed killer Jodi Arias, he succeeded Thursday morning.

Arias, who claims to have killed her ex-boyfriend in self-defense, broke down on the stand when shown a picture of Travis Alexander's body in the shower of his Mesa home.

As his witness melted into tears before him, Martinez kept at her.

"Ma'am, were you crying when you were shooting him?" he asked.

"I don't remember," Arias answered tearfully.

"Were you crying when you were stabbing him?" he continued.

"I don't remember," she said once again.

"How about when you cut his throat? Were you crying then?"

"I don't know," she said between sniffles.

"So take a look, then," he said, referring to the photo. "You're the one that did this, right?"

"Yes," she said almost desperately, continuing to cover her face with her hand.

"And you're the same individual that lied about all this, right?"

"Yes," she answered, removing her glasses and again covering her face as she continued to sob softly.

After a minute or so, Judge Sherry Stephens called for the noon recess.

Arias had composed herself when she picked up her testimony after the lunch break.

The 32-year-old has been on the witness stand for 12 days now, first answering questions from her defense team and then facing off with Martinez.

While she claims self-defense in the death of Alexander, Martinez has been trying to paint her as a cold-blooded killer who has become immersed in a web of her own lies.

In addition to questioning her memory on more than one occasion, Martinez has spent much of his cross-examination poking holes in the various stories Arias has told since the June 2008 killing.

Arias initially told police she had nothing to do with Alexander's death. When police confronted her with evidence placing her at the scene, she blamed two masked intruders. She eventually changed her story again, telling investigators Alexander was abusive and that fearing for for her life, she killed Alexander in self-defense.

On the day of Alexander's death, Arias says he was in a rage, body-slamming her and chasing her around his home.

Alexander was shot in the head, stabbed nearly 30 times and his throat had been cut from ear to ear.

Dr. Kevin Horn, who performed the autopsy on Alexander, testified when the prosecution presented its case, saying that knife wound went "all the way back to the spine."

Arias says she brought no weapons to Alexander's home on the day she killed him, undercutting the prosecution's theory of premeditation.

If the jury convicts her, Arias could become the fourth woman on Arizona's death row.

Associated Press writer Brian Skoloff contributed to this report.