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Woman accused of Arizona lover's murder attended his memorial

Jodi Arias testifies during cross examination by prosecutor Juan Martinez in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, February 25
Jodi Arias testifies during cross examination by prosecutor Juan Martinez in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, February 25

By Tim Gaynor

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A woman on trial for capital murder in Arizona testified on Tuesday that she attended her lover's memorial service days after she killed him, writing in a remembrance book that he was "beautiful inside and out."

Jodi Arias, 32, could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering 30-year-old Travis Alexander, whose body was found in the shower of his Phoenix valley home in June 2008. He was shot in the face, stabbed 27 times and had his throat slit.

Arias, in frequently explicit testimony about her relationship with Alexander, has admitted to killing him but said it was in self defense after he attacked her when she dropped his camera while taking pictures of him in the shower. The prosecution has said she killed him in a jealous rage.

In a combative third day of cross examination, prosecutor Juan Martinez confronted Arias with positive comments she wrote about Alexander at a memorial service days after the killing, in which she described him as "beautiful on the inside and out."

"You also write, ‘You always told me that I have never stopped believing in you, and I know that you always believed in me,' right?" Martinez asked of the remarks which were seemingly at odds with Arias' assertions that Alexander was abusive.

"Yes I did," Arias replied.

"Even though, according to you, he would get this mean look on his face and come charging after you down the hallway, you still believed in him, right?" Arias agreed that she did, after he rephrased the question.

Seeking to point out further inconsistencies in her testimony, Martinez questioned Arias about a text message she had sent Alexander less than two months before she killed him, in which she called him "a rock, a light and an inspiration," and noted that she "loved him dearly."

"You've been telling us that in addition to being mean, he physically abused you ... and that he would raise his voice to you. ... Yet once you are free of him, and after the fog has lifted, you are thanking him and telling him what an inspiration he is," Martinez said.

Arias and Alexander met in the fall of 2006 and dated for several months. They split up the following summer, although their sexual relationship continued until his death.

Martinez also sought on Tuesday to paint Arias as having a history of jealousy and a readiness to confront lovers and perceived romantic rivals when she felt slighted.

The court heard how she accessed the email account of a previous boyfriend of whom she had become suspicious. After discovering letters to him from another woman, Arias showed them to him before moving out of their shared accommodation.

Martinez then questioned Arias about an incident in a subsequent relationship in which she drove to meet with a woman she apparently perceived as a rival, after finding a photograph of the woman with her then boyfriend.

"When you feel something is not right ... you are going to confront that person?" Martinez asked, to which Arias replied: "Not necessarily."

The trial is set to continue on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Richard Chang)

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