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Woman accused of Arizona lover's murder gave conflicting evidence

Jodi Arias testifies during cross examination by prosecutor Juan Martinez in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, February 27
Jodi Arias testifies during cross examination by prosecutor Juan Martinez in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, February 27

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona court heard how a woman charged with capital murder felt "like a goddess" with her slain lover, as prosecutors on Wednesday cited contradictions to previous testimony in which she said the relationship made her feel "like a prostitute."

Jodi Arias, 32, could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering 30-year-old Travis Alexander, whose body was found in the shower of his Phoenix valley home in June 2008. He was shot in the face, stabbed 27 times and had his throat slit.

Arias, in frequently explicit testimony, has admitted to killing him but said it was in self-defense after he attacked her when she dropped his camera while taking pictures of him in the shower. The prosecution has said she killed him in a jealous rage.

During frequently combative cross-examination on Wednesday, prosecutor Juan Martinez sought to poke holes in Arias' previous testimony that her relationship with Alexander left her feeling "like a prostitute," noting how in a sex tape she said she felt "like a goddess" with him.

"You tell us you felt like a prostitute," Martinez said. "It seems to be contradictory."

Arias admitted to enjoying parts of her sex life with Alexander.

In four days of hostile questioning, Martinez has picked at numerous contradictory accounts Arias gave to friends, family and police investigators of both her relationship with Alexander and the manner he met his death.

On Wednesday, he played a television interview Arias gave from jail in which she said intruders killed Alexander - a version she later dropped when police forensic evidence placed her firmly at the crime scene. "I couldn't keep my stories straight," Arias said, when confronted with differing accounts.

Martinez has also produced text messages exchanged by the couple that apparently contradicted her version of their relationship as one characterized by violence and emotional abuse.

"You lied to a lot of people, but you're saying that just because you are sitting here in this courtroom, there has been, for the lack of a better term, a conversion," Martinez said to Arias. "For the lack of a better term, yes," she replied.

Alexander was found some five days after he was killed. Authorities pinned the death on Arias after sexually explicit photos were discovered in his camera's memory card.

The trial is set to continue on Thursday.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor, Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)

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