Jodi Arias trial: Prosecution takes center stage

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The ex-girlfriend of murder victim Travis Alexander took the stand Wednesday in Jodi Arias' sentencing retrial and testified Alexander never abused her.

Arias' defense team has told jurors that Alexander once physically assaulted Deanna Reid, but on the stand, Reid told jurors that's not true.

"It's important because it's showing Travis Alexander isn't an abusive man that the defense is suggesting he is," legal analyst Jen Wood said. "Deanna Reid is actually getting out that he was a very loving person, he was a good person, he would never do that to her, he would never touch her or harm her, and that's exactly what the state wants this jury to hear."

While not directly addressing the alleged physical assault, defense attorney Jennifer Willmott tried to impeach Reid's credibility, charging that Reid, who admitted during Arias' first trial that she had a sexual relationship with Alexander, wasn't being truthful in early depositions when she said she didn't know if Alexander was having sex with other women.

"There is quite a bit of sparring going on between Jen and Deanna because what Jen Willmott is trying to do is show that Deanna Reid wasn't exactly honest that she's had sex with Travis Alexander," Wood said. "But in the reality of it, Jen Willmott and the defense didn't come out and ask Deanna Reid if she had sex with Travis Alexander, so it's a matter of wording that they are fighting over."

On Tuesday, the defense rested, so now the prosecution is getting its chance to convince a jury that Arias deserves the death penalty instead of a life sentence.

Arias, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Alexander, her ex-lover, is fighting for her life, as this jury determines whether she should spend the rest of her life in prison or be executed.

The jury that convicted Arias on May 8, 2013, was unable to reach a verdict in her sentencing, and Maricopa County Superior Judge Sherry Stephens declared a mistrial May 23, 2013.

The body of 30-year-old Alexander was found in his Mesa apartment. He had been stabbed, his throat was slit and he had a gunshot wound to his forehead.

Arias, who initially denied she killed Alexander, would eventually admit that she killed him in self-defense, but jurors didn't buy into that claim.

Members of the current jury, who were selected from more than 400 potential jurors over several weeks, have been shown graphic photos of the crime scene, listened to interrogation tapes in which Arias produced a number of lies, and had a juror dismissed for asking a woman journalist in attendance if she was TV journalist Nancy Grace, since the retrial began Oct. 21.

The trial, which has generated an online and cable news audience nationwide, is expected to last through January, Stephens said last week.