Ariz. slaying suspect can't recall most of killing

Jodi Arias appears for her trial in Maricopa County Superior court Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Phoenix. Arias is charged with murder in the death of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, and prosecution is seeking the death penalty. (AP Photo/Matt York)

February 20, 2013 12:24:28 PM PST
A woman charged with killing her lover testified Wednesday that she has no recollection of stabbing him, slitting his throat or even whether she shot him in a fight at his house nearly five years ago.

Jodi Arias, 32, has spent nearly eight days on the witness stand recounting in precise detail one event of her life after another, but when pressed Wednesday about how she killed Travis Alexander, she drew a blank, noting there was a "huge gap" in her memory from that day in June 2008.

She remembers getting in a fight with Alexander, shooting at him as they tussled, putting a knife in the dishwasher and disposing of the gun in the desert as she drove from Arizona to California.

"I knew my life was pretty much over," she told jurors, tearfully recalling how she contemplated suicide.

"Do you remember stabbing Travis Alexander?" her defense lawyer asked.

"I have no memory of stabbing him," she said.

Arias said the fight started after she accidentally dropped a digital camera while taking provocative photos of Alexander in the shower of his Mesa home. She said he flew into a rage, body-slammed her and chased her around the house.

Arias said she grabbed a gun from his closet, and that it went off while they tussled. She wasn't sure if it hit him.

"He was angry at me and he wasn't going to stop," she said. "It was like mortal terror."

Prosecutors say she planned the killing in a jealous rage, and friends of the victim have said outside court that she is making up stories about him and his supposed sexual deviance.

Arias is hoping the jury will spare her the death penalty with a conviction on a lesser charge - or even an acquittal. Prosecutors must prove she planned the attack in advance to secure a first-degree murder conviction and a chance for a death sentence.

Arias changed her story several times during questioning with detectives and during TV interviews after the killing. She initially told police she knew nothing about the killing, then later blamed it on masked intruders. She eventually settled on self-defense. On Wednesday, she was asked why she didn't dial 911 after the killing.

"I was scared. I couldn't imagine calling 911 and telling them what I had just done," she said. "I was scared of what would happen to me."

Arias' inability to remember key facts of the killing stood in stark contrast to her previous testimony on the witness stand. She recalled the type of flavored coffee she ordered at Starbucks, exact dates of sexual encounters and road trips, and in-depth accounts of stories from 10 years ago when she was just a teenager.

But as questioning finally turned to the killing, she recalled very little.

She later explained for jurors how she left Alexander's home and immediately began planning an alibi, leaving a voice mail on his mobile phone and traveling to see a friend in Utah after disposing of the gun in the desert to "throw the scent off for a little while."

"I was just trying to act like myself," she told jurors. "I just wanted to seem like normal, like things were OK, like I didn't just do what I just did."