March 7, 2013— -- Accused murderer Jodi Arias made a dramatic final plea to the jury in her murder trial today, asking them to believe her.
"Why should anyone believe you now? That is the ultimate question, Jodi. Why should we believe you now?" attorney Kirk Nurmi asked Arias in his final question to her during the trial.
Arias, 32, spent two days answering questions from the jury that showed skepticism among jurors, one of whom asked her outright why the jury should believe what she says on the stand after she admitted to so many lies. Arias could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008.
During Nurmi's follow-up questions, Arias turned in her seat to face the jury and speak to them directly.
"Like I said before, I lied a lot. Each of those lies tied back to two things: protecting his ego, no, his reputation, and my own, and second, relating to any involvement in his death," she said.
Arias then paused dramatically.
"I understand that there will always be questions, but all I can do, at this point, is say what happened to the best of my recollection. If I'm convicted, that's because of my own bad choices," she said as prosecutor Juan Martinez objected loudly.
It was the final statement Arias will make to the jurors, who submitted more than 100 questions of their own to Arias about the alleged murder. Martinez will finish his follow-up questions when the trial resumes Wednesday, March 13.
Arias is facing charges for killing Alexander during what she claims was a violent argument at his home in Mesa, Ariz., on June 4, 2008. She has claimed she killed him in self-defense.
The prosecution claims she killed Alexander out of jealousy and then lied about it to protect herself.
"After all the lies you told," asked one jury member earlier in the day, "why should we believe you now?"
"You claim everything happened so fast you didn't have time to think, so how could you think of grabbing a gun?" asked another. "How can you say you don't have memory issues when you can't remember how you stabbed him so many times and slashed his throat?"
The questions were the final look into how the jurors may view the case against Arias, who is charged with first-degree murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Arizona is one of only three states that allow jurors to ask questions of witnesses. As Arias answered the original 100 questions they submitted, jurors quickly scribbled 14 more that they submitted to Judge Sherry Stephens.
The questions focused on Arias' lies and her claim that she could not remember killing Alexander.
"Were you mad at Travis while you were stabbing him? Why did you take the rope and gun with you? Why didn't you call 911?" they asked.
"Did you ever see a doctor for your memory issues? Have you ever taken medication for your memory issue? How is it you remember so many of your sexual encounters, including your ex-boyfriends, but you do not remember stabbing Travis and dragging his body?"
"Well," Arias answered from the stand, "as far as what happened on June 4, I don't know how the mind works necessarily, but I know that was the most traumatic experience of my life."
The jury is made up of 18 adults, 11 men and seven women, who have sat through more than 30 days of testimony so far in the case. Before going into deliberations, the jury will be whittled to 12, and alternates will be dismissed.
According to her testimony, Arias and Alexander dated for a year, and then slept together for another year after breaking up, from 2006 to 2008. During that time, she alleges that he grew sexually abusive and physically violent after she found out he was sexually attracted to young boys.
She killed Alexander after traveling to his Arizona home from where she was living in California. They had sex and took nude photos of each other that day. Arias claims Alexander exploded in a rage when she dropped his camera while photographing him taking a shower. He slammed her to the floor and she ran to a closet where she grabbed a gun he had, but the gun fired as he charged into her, she testified.
She claims she doesn't remember anything after that.