The tumultuous love affair between accused killer Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander began with such a rush of intensity that just days after meeting one another, Arias broke up with her boyfriend of four years and had her first sexual encounter with Alexander.
Their relationship would turn out to be equally intense, as Arias and Alexander dated for a year and then broke up, but continued to sleep together until Arias killed Alexander in a violent rage a year later. She is now on trial for Alexander's murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The pair met at a work convention in 2006 and, hitting it off immediately, Arias broke up with her live-in, long term boyfriend later that week. She then met Alexander for a weekend stay at a friends' home in California, where they first became intimate, setting off an erotic sexual relationship.
"He said 'I'll come into your room when they're asleep'," Arias said of Alexander as they both spent the weekend at a friends' home. "There was no conversation. I thought there was going to be, but there wasn't," she said. "We sat down and started passionately kissing."
Alexander then began undressing Arias, she testified, fidgeting on the stand and saying " "this is embarrassing," as she described their encounter. Her mother and relatives watched from the gallery.
"He began to perform oral sex on me. I was uncomfortable," she said. "He knew what he was doing for sure, but it felt like too much too soon."
"He asked for reciprocation," she said, admitting that she then performed oral sex on him, moving his Mormon temple garments -- ritual T-shirt and or underwear that Mormon men wear -- out of the way in order to do so. Alexander was an elder in the Mormon church which prohibits pre-marital sex.
Arias and Alexander fell asleep after the encounter, and after waking up naked the next morning, Arias quickly dressed and went to church for Mormon church services in the morning. Arias said neither she nor Alexander spoke of the encounter, and she drove home later that day.
A few days later, they met up again, and Alexander talked to Arias about the Book of Mormon and Mormon rules against consuming drugs, caffeine, and alcohol. Then he told her he wanted another sexual encounter, Arias said.
The pair drove to a park where she performed oral sex on him again while sitting in her car. Minutes later, he got into his car and left. "He refused to kiss me after because he said it was gross," Arias testified.
The defense is attempting to portray Alexander as sex-obsessed and abusive toward Arias, showing that he only used her for sexual gratification and mistreated her.
The defense claims Arias killed Alexander in self defense, and that he had been controlling and abusive toward her for their entire relationship.
Earlier, Arias testified earlier about a flurry of boyfriends she had before Alexander, and how she followed them into exploring a string of religions including witchcraft, Buddhism, Hinduism before eventually converting to Mormonism.
Her odyssey through boyfriends and the spiritual world included a five year period from age 18 through age 22 when Arias said she became very interested in fundamentalist Christianity, Wicca, Buddhism, and Hinduism, all of which she explored as she dated men who practiced those beliefs.
Eventually Arias became interested in Mormonism through Alexander, and converted to Mormonism when she began a torrid sexual relationship with him in 2006.
Arias took the stand for the second time today to explain to the jury how she came to kill Alexander in what she claims was self defense. Her story started with other boyfriends.
"When I first met (Matt McCartney) I was a little bit leery about things he was into. I saw some books on witchcraft and went, 'oh', but he explained to me that he was just seeking," Arias said today. "He was looking at other religions, he was studying Wicca, and I didn't practice it myself, but he had practiced it and had moved onto studying eastern mysticism and Buddhism."
"Our relationship took a lot of spiritual turns," she said.
Arias said that religion played a major role in her and McCartney's relationship, which lasted nearly two years and involved living together in Oregon.
"We sort of explored together, taking meditation seminars, new age type seminars, which sort of had roots in Hinduism or Buddhism, and were kind of like a modern version of transcendentalism," she said. "We would drive to Portland or the Bay Area often for them."
Arias said she grew up as a non-denominational Christian. During her testimony on Monday Arias said that in high school, an acquaintance had told her that the second coming of Jesus Christ would be in 1997, and she took to warning close friends about it.
"It's kind of silly, but there was this older man who used to come into my parents' restaurant, and he had a small pocket version of the New Testament that he always carried. He was always quoting Bible stories to me, and this one time he told me he had done the math in the Bible and determined that he knew that the second coming was going to occur in September of 1997," Arias said.
Arias took the man's advice to heart and called her on-again, off-again boyfriend of the time to tell him the news.
"I was really naive and kind of believed him. It seemed important, so I thought Bobby (Juarez) should know about it. He wasn't religious, but I thought it was important that he at least hear that for himself," she said.
Through a string of boyfriends in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Arias continued to identify as a Christian who was into spirituality. When she met Alexander in 2006, she immediately became interested in Mormonism. She quickly converted and Alexander, a Mormon elder, baptized her into her new religion.
The two also maintained a torrid sexual affair, which is prohibited for unmarried people in the Mormon religion.
Other witnesses who have been called to the stand have noted her commitment to Mormonism, including Ryan Burns, a Mormon she began seeing after breaking up with Alexander. She also visited Burns the day after killing Alexander.
"Part of our conversations with each other were about her religious views, and my religious views," Burns testified. "She would often tell me about how she felt about her religious beliefs, the Book of Mormon. She was a convert, by Travis... She mentioned reading the scriptures."