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Arizona slaying case filled with gruesome details

| Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 10:08 p.m.

PHOENIX — The photographs present a chilling portrait of sex and death.

A nude Jodi Arias on Travis Alexander's bed. A naked Alexander in the shower. Then minutes later, an image of Alexander stabbed and slashed nearly 30 times in the heart, back, hands and torso, shot in the head, his throat slit from ear to ear.

Other evidence has stacked up since the June 2008 attack in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix. A bloody palm print; wildly conflicting stories; and, finally, a confession.

The evidence — including time-stamped photos from the day police say Alexander died — is being presented at a trial in Phoenix that's been dominated by the torrid affair, sex, jealousy and a defendant whose only chance at acquittal is to convince a jury she's the victim.

There's no question who killed the 30-year-old businessman and motivational speaker. Arias admits she stabbed and shot him, but claims she was defending herself against an abusive lover.

Alexander “lunged at Jodi in anger,” her attorney, Jennifer Willmott, told jurors.

“Jodi's life was in danger. He knocked her to the ground in the bathroom where there was a struggle,” Willmott said. “If she did not have to defend herself, she would not be here.”

Prosecutors say the 32-year-old came prepared to kill, packing a .25-caliber handgun and knife, neglecting to call police and leaving behind a crime scene that investigators described as among the most gruesome they'd ever seen.

“This is not a case of whodunit,” prosecutor Juan Martinez said. “The person who committed this killing sits in court today.”

Arias repeatedly changed her stories about the killing that could land her on death row if convicted. She first denied any involvement, then blamed it on masked intruders before finally confessing.

The case now rests largely on intent. Her attorneys are trying to convince jurors she was an abused woman defending herself from an enraged ex-boyfriend — something experts say will be difficult given the evidence.

“Why did she bring a gun to a love fest for one?” said San Francisco criminal defense lawyer Michael Cardoza.

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