|Arias 'Killing' Victim Again, Friend Says|
|By LISA TOMASELLI and SHANA DRUCKERMAN||Mar 19, 2013, 12:05 PM|
The family and friends of Travis Alexander said it was difficult to watch Jodi Arias testify for nearly a month and "murder him again" with what they said are lies about Alexander's behavior and character.
"Travis is not on trial. Jodi is on trial and she done everything to put him on trial," Chris Hughes, who was Alexander's best friend, told ABC News in an exclusive interview.
Hughes has been watching the trial mostly from his home in Utah while members of Alexander's family, including at least three of his seven brothers and sisters, have been in the front row of the courtroom almost every day.
Arias, 32, is accused of murdering Alexander by stabbing him 27 times, slitting his throat and shooting him in the head. She could face the death penalty if convicted.
Arias initially lied about killing her ex-boyfriend in 2008, but eventually said she killed him in self defense. During her 18 days on the stand she described Alexander as a sexual deviant who was interested in boys, was increasingly demanding sexually and prone to violent outbursts. She claims she killed him when Alexander became enraged that she dropped his camera while taking nude pictures of him in the shower.
"I watched her murder him over and over again…she is trying to get something to stick with the jury," Hughes said.
He said that he "forgives" Arias, but he wants her punished.
"I believe she should be in prison for the rest of her life," he said at one point. But later, Hughes said she deserves the death penalty for her "calculating" killing of "the most violent kind."
Hughes said Arias' testimony was particularly hard for Alexander's family to endure, particularly the photos of his mutilated body.
"They had planned on not looking at it…that was unbearable for them," he said.
They were not bothered by the details of what the defense team has called Alexander's secret sexual life with Arias.
"It's called a sex life. It's supposed to be a secret. We don't advertise that stuff. They don't care about that stuff," Hughes said.
But they are "stupefied by her…they are devastated by the lies and her assault on his character and all her unsubstantiated stories," he said. "It's just the lies..to hear her kill him over and over and over again."
The family also finds it galling to hear Arias claim she has no memory of stabbing Alexander 27 times.
The claim is "ridiculous..anybody with a brain would think it was ridiculous," Hughes said.
The trial has not only been emotionally draining for the Alexander family but has taken a financial toll as well. They have tapped out their savings, are living on credit cards and one family member lost out on a job promotion because of the time spent at the trial, Hughes said.
"Not attending was not an option. Leaving is not an option. They are going to see this through to the very end," said Hughes.
Hughes created a website www.TravisAlexanderFund.com to help the family with their expenses as the trial lingers on. He said they never asked for help and were surprised by the help. He said the support has been inspiring with complete strangers donating. "There's a lot of people who never met Travis that love him," Hughes said.