The courtroom at the Jodi Arias murder trial was shocked -- and Arias began sobbing -- when the prosecutor stunned them by suddenly flashing a photograph of Arias' ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander with his throat slashed open.
Alexander's sisters and friends burst into tears and one ran out of the courtroom when prosecutor Juan Martinez held up the grisly picture of Alexander with his throat slashed and bloodied.
Arias, who is on trial for allegedly murdering Alexander, sobbed uncontrollably at the sight of the photo. She is accused of stabbing Alexander 27 times, slashing his throat, and shooting him twice in the head in a bout of jealousy. She could face the death penalty if convicted.
In the moments before the incident, Martinez was questioning Lisa Daidone, who dated Alexander in 2007 after Alexander's break up with Arias but while he and Arias continued to sleep together. The defense had gone painstakingly through an angry email Daidone had sent Alexander to break up with him, after she found out he was cheating on her with Arias.
"Do you think that even with everything they claimed he put you through, do you think it is appropriate to take a knife and slash somebody's throat?" Martinez yelled.
"Is this what a normal relationship looks like to you?" Martinez shouted as he held up the picture amid shouts of "objection" from the defense and gasps from onlookers.
Judge Sherry Stephens called for a recess, and when the court returned the judge warned the audience to keep their reactions to testimony silent.
The outburst came at the end of an intense line of questioning from Martinez as he asked Daidone to explain that Alexander treated her well during their relationship, attempting to disprove the defense's accusations that Alexander was a sex-obsessed, aggressive cheater.
Daidone had testified under questioning by Arias' lawyers that she broke off her relationship with Alexander several times partly out of her suspicions that he was cheating on her, although he had asked her to marry him.
As Mormons they refrained from sex before marriage and she was surprised to find out after Alexander's death that he was not a virgin. Another witness, Desiree Freeman, told the court that Alexander claimed to be a virgin. "He made jokes about it" and seemed proud of the fact, Freeman testified.
The defense cited Daidone's breakup email listing her complaints about Alexander in their effort to portray Alexander as an aggressive philanderer.
"Did you tell him that you felt he wanted you just for your body, that kissing didn't mean anything to him and was just a way for him to let out sexual tension? And that it made you feel used and dirty?" defense attorney Jennifer Willmott asked Daidone.
Daidone said yes, and that she "had felt that way then."
But the prosecutor grilled Daidone about that email, drawing a picture of a more reserved and sexually restrained Alexander.
"You were asked about that email," Martinez said, "and one of the things you talked about, isn't it true that Mr. Alexander wouldn't kiss you at the start of the relationship? You were the person who initiated contact? He was the person holding it up, right? He was holding up your religious beliefs?" Martinez asked.
"He was doing everything he could to conform to what you wanted, wasn't he? Not other way around," Martinez said.
Daidone said that when she sent the angry email to Alexander, criticizing him for thinking about sex and talking about sex, that she was "inexperienced" and "immature," and she later came to regret saying those things to him.
Daidone said that Alexander always kept in close contact with Arias, texting and calling her often. She was suspicious that he was cheating on her, but did not know they were involved sexually.
The prosecution has shown that Alexander and Arias often traded sexual phone calls and text messages, and engaged in oral and anal sex. On the day she killed him, Arias posed for graphic sexual photos along with Alexander on his bed in his Mesa, Ariz., home.
The defense has argued that Alexander kept Arias as his "dirty little secret" as he pretended to be a virgin to his friends and family.
Daidone's testimony came on the second day of Arias' defense. The attacks on Alexander's character may be the only way to help convince jurors that Arias, who admitted to killing Alexander after initially denying it, was acting in self-defense and should not be convicted of murder.
One observer, veteran defense lawyer Melvin McDonald, said it was like "swimming up Niagara Falls" because of the evidence amassed by prosecutors.
"What you do, obviously, if you're defending this case, especially when the evidence against you is so compelling, is make a case of self-defense. And to do that, you've got to paint this guy as a bad guy," said McDonald, a former judge and prosecutor who has tried cases against Arias prosecutor Juan Martinez.
The testimony today, McDonald said, has still not proven that Alexander might have threatened or been physically violent toward Arias.
"With this other girl, he's feeding her lies and misleading her, but that doesn't show any inclination toward violence whatsoever," McDonald said.