Jodi Arias trial: Bishop talks about sex/porn

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The topics of sex, porn and religion took the spotlight in the courtroom Monday during the Jodi Arias sentencing retrial.

The prosecution is continuing to tear apart defense arguments that Jodi Arias was a victim of abuse at the hands of the man she was convicted of killing, her ex-lover, Travis Alexander,

The sentencing retrial of Arias got underway again Monday morning in front of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens. As court got underway, Alexander's former Mormon bishop was grilled by defense attorneys.

"Nurmi's approach is very aggressive," says courtroom blogger Jen Wood, speaking of attorney Kirk Nurmi, who questioned Bishop Vernon Parker all morning. "So it could either backfire on him, or he is getting out important information the jury wants to know."

Parker was called to the stand last week by prosecutor Juan Martinez to refute claims that Travis Alexander accessed child pornography on a computer while living at Parker's California home. Last week Parker told jurors that never happened. But on Monday he appeared to waffle under cross-examination by defense attorney.

"Kirk Nurmi is trying to establish that the pop-up porn images on Bishop Parker's computer were from Travis Alexander's surfing the porn  and not someone else living at the house," says legal analyst Beth Karas. "To do that, he showed that Parker was off on his timeline."

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

The jury that convicted Arias on May 8, 2013, was unable to reach a verdict in her sentencing, and 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 she killed him in self-defense, but jurors didn't buy into that claim.

Members of the current jury, which was 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.