Jodi Arias 'Snapped' When She Killed Travis Alexander, Attorney Says

PHOTO: Jodi Arias sits in court during her murder trial for the killing of her boyfriend, May 3, 2013.
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She snapped.

She was out of control, in the heat of passion, and she snapped, defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said today of his client, accused murderer Jodi Arias.

In his closing statements to the jury after four months of testimony in the case, Nurmi argued that Arias was in the fight of her life with her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, on the afternoon of June 4, 2008.

"It was a fight, a fight for life, on both Jodi and Travis's part," Nurmi said.

Nurmi and prosecutor Juan Martinez made their final statements to the jury after four months of presenting testimony on the case.

The jury, made up of eight men and four women, began deliberating shortly after 6:30 p.m. EST. They will decide whether Arias is guilty of murder and whether she will face the death penalty.

The day was filled with Nurmi and Martinez going back and forth over whether Arias' version of events on the day of Alexander's death could be believed. The crux of the case, they argued, was whether Arias planned to go to Alexander's home and kill him, or killed him during a fight that got out of hand.

Nurmi said during his closing remarks that the 27 stab wounds, gunshot to the head, and slit throat suffered by Alexander were signs that Arias lost her temper when she fought back against Alexander. He said she had the perspective of a battered woman, after months of emotional and occasionally physical abuse.

Arias has testified that she was taking nude photos of Alexander in the shower when she dropped his camera, causing him to explode in a rage and throw her to the bathroom floor. She told the Arizona jury she shot him in self-defense but does not remember stabbing him.

"It may be that Jodi Arias didn't know when to stop," he said. "Couldn't it also be that after everything that she simply snapped? She may not know it, but she may very well have snapped. Out of control. Sudden heat of passion. We have been through so much and look what happened now, this instance of violence went too far."

"This could account for much of what you see in the pictures, the chaos, the blood everywhere, the stab wounds, the slit to the throat - all of it in some ways a sad symbol of a toxic relationship," he said.

Martinez attempted to discredit Arias once and for all in his rebuttal, saying that all objective evidence in the case pointed to premeditated murder, and that Arias's defense rested solely on her word, which could not be believed.

"We keep going back to the same thing, that you would have to believe the defendant, but the defendant has demonstrated to you that throughout these proceedings, to the detective, with her friends, in speaking to the psychologist, and in speaking to you, throughout the whole thing she has lied," Martinez said.

The jury, which will begin deliberating after prosecutor Juan Martinez said his final closing remarks, has been told they can consider first degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter.

Nurmi argued throughout the day that Martinez's claim of premeditation was "nonsense," and that the crime scene where Alexander died was left in such disarray that it could not possibly indicate a planned murder.

He showed the jury photos of the bathroom floor where Alexander died, with water and blood mixed haphazardly and the blood-stained carpet in Alexander's bedroom.

"If Jodi knew what she was doing, and planned all this out, and was engaged in higher functioning and thinking, then what about the reality? Look," he said, showing the photo of a soaked cardboard box on the bathroom floor. "She threw some water down on the floor in a panic. Does this look like the cleanup of some cold calculation? Or rather instead a reaction, a what-the-hell happened reaction to the experience, the fight she was just having? This does not look like some orchestrated cleanup."

Nurmi began his closing statement by telling the jury that the "sex, lies, and dirty little secrets" that filled the trial would help jurors understand the tumultuous relationship between Arias and Alexander and explain his death.

On Thursday, prosecutor Juan Martinez laid out his closing argument for the jury, suggesting that Arias decided to kill Alexander because he was trying to break up with her and move on with his life.

Martinez argued that Arias tried to cover her tracks when she drove to Alexander's home in Mesa, Ariz., and killed him and then lied about it for months to avoid being caught.

Today, Nurmi admitted that Arias lied, but told jurors that the criminal charge was murder, not lying.

"One thing the state has done is pile on, to set up a house of cards to say Jodi is lying about everything, then knock it down," he said.

"Did she lie? Of course she did, but that's not in your verdict instructions. The crime is premeditated murder," he said.

Nurmi focused his argument on discrediting what Martinez called her "covert mission" to kill Alexander.

The prosecution has alleged that Arias staged a break-in at her grandparents' home to steal their gun and use it to shoot Alexander. But Nurmi asked the jury why Arias wouldn't have simply gone into the cabinet and taken the gun without her grandparents ever realizing it.

He pointed out that Arias left an obvious paper trail on her trip to Alexander's home in Mesa, Ariz., with a car rental that required her license and credit card information, money transfers between banks, and stops to visit people along the way.

"Keep in mind the state conceded yesterday that Jodi Arias is a smart woman. Is that behavior consistent with a smart woman who is planning this covert mission to go to Mesa and kill Travis Alexander?"

Similarly, he pointed out at a half-dozen times that Arias could have killed Alexander easily when she arrived at his home, when she walked in and he was seated at the computer with his back to her, or in the shower when he posed looking away from her.

"Wouldn't you think if somebody was on this covert mission, they've done all these things to prepare themselves for the moment in time when she could kill Travis Alexander, does she shoot him right then and there?" Nurmi asked. "She had the gun and she had the knife. Why wouldn't she do that?"

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