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.