Arizona prosecutor Juan Martinez has been known to be abrasive with accused murderess Jodi Arias, but on Monday he took his volatility out on a psychotherapist who testified that the defendant suffered domestic abuse at the hands of the victim, Travis Alexander.
Psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette has been testifying about abuse victims in general for more than a week, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
She focused on Arias’ tumultuous relationship with the victim last week, where she portrayed Alexander as a cheating womanizer who physically abused his girlfriend.
According to the AP, LaViolette testified that Alexander was seeing multiple women while still being sexually involved with Arias, using graphic language to entice these women into having sex with him, she said on the stand, while haranguing Arias with derogatory names.
LaViolette said she interviewed Arias for more than 40 hours and looked though text messages, emails and other communications she had with the victim. She added she saw messages where Alexander was courting other women while continuing a sexual relationship with Arias.
The witness said Arias suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her former lover. It was the first time in the Arias murder trial that a witness corroborated her testimony where she claimed Alexander physically and emotionally attacked her.
Arias could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering Alexander in his Phoenix home in June 2008.
But authorities claim Alexander’s demise was a result of a calculated, jealous rage on Arias’ part. She initially told police she had nothing to do with her onetime boyfriend’s death, but two years later said she killed him in self-defense. Testimony has been continuing for three months.
Martinez questioned how LaVioletta was able to conclude Alexander physically abused Arias since she only had Arias’ word and old text messages and emails to go by.
“Ultimately, what you’re saying is you are a human lie detector, right?” Martinez snapped.
“It’s context,” LaViolette said. “It’s about patterns and it’s about context.”
Martinez then pointed out that Alexander told one woman Arias was a stalker.
"Isn’t it true that Mr. Alexander was extremely fearful of the defendant based on what was said in that conversation?” Martinez asked.
“I don’t get that,” LaViolette replied.
“You’re taking what’s in this instant message and you’re picking and choosing what to believe and what not to believe, right?" Martinez prodded.
“No,” LaViolette said.
Martinez also touched on Arias’ long history of lying.
“She does have a history of lying, doesn’t she?” he asked.
“After the killing, yes,” LaViolette said.
As he continued to probe the witness, the therapist ultimately admitted she had no way of knowing whether or not Arias was telling the truth now.
Martinez also accused LaViolette of being biased. She once apologized to Arias after going through her journals and other private items.
“Do I believe the evidence supports domestic violence? Yes,” LaViolette replied. “I don’t believe I’m biased.”
Testimony will resume Tuesday.