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Medical Examiner Testifies In Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Medical examiner Kevin Horn took the stand in the Jodi Arias murder trial in Phoenix, Arizona and described the numerous wounds to Travis Alexander's body which resulted in his death.  30 year old Travis Alexander was murdered on June 4, 2008 in the bathroom of his Mesa Arizona home. His body lay undiscovered for nearly 5 days, until concerned friends entered the home and found him on June 9, 2008. He was due to leave on a trip to Cancun, Mexico on June 10th, with a woman he had met through his Mormon church.

32 year old Jodi Arias, Alexander's ex-girlfriend has admitted to killing him, but claims it was in self defense. The self defense story is her third account of what happened that awful night.  Arias initially claimed she was not involved, but after police discovered her bloody palm print and photographic evidence on a digital camera, Arias adjusted her story and claimed that she and Travis were attacked by two armed intruders. Her third and current claims are that she killed him in self defense.

The trial began on January 2, after more than 4 1/2 years of delays. Travis Alexanders sisters and brother have been seated in the front rows behind the prosecution team's table every day. The testimony has been difficult. The crime scene photos have been unbearable for them.  The medical examiner has been explaining to the jury the effects of decomposition on the body and the wounds. The very graphic photos depict a violent and vicious attack, in which Travis Alexander did not die quickly.  The State believes Arias attacked an unprepared Alexander while he was in the shower.  His injuries include 27-29 stab wounds, a gunshot wound to his head and his throat was slit from ear to ear.

This was a life and death struggle. The defense has alleged that Alexander become "enraged" after Arias dropped his new digital camera - the same camera that captured this attack unfolding. Arias attempted to delete those photos, but police technicians were able to recover the deleted photos. These are being shown to the jury as well.  As the medical examiner described each wound, Alexander's sisters shielded their eyes and faces from the graphic photos - they left the courtroom for part of this testimony. I can't imagine seeing a loved one in that state. My heart goes out to them.

The prosecution has alleged that Arias blitz attacked Alexander while he was in a seated position in his shower.  A struggle ensued, yet he was able to get out of the shower and was at the sink/basin area, bleeding profusely.  The blood spatter evidence led Prosecutor Juan Martinez to believe that Travis was leaning on the sink when Arias slit his throat. The medical examiner testified that the neck wound was so deep it nearly severed his spinal cord.  9 of the 27 stab wounds were to his back, some were deep enough to nearly reach his heart. He was stabbed in the head with enough force to chip bone away from his skull.

The medical examiner believes Travis Alexander was dead by the time he was shot in the head with a 25 caliber gun. The defense has alleged the gunshot occurred first, after Alexander initiated the attack on Arias, and the other wounds occurred during a "life and death" struggle for her life. They are attempting to paint Arias as an abused woman who was seduced, used for sex and kept hidden from friends before being discarded by Alexander.  Alexander was a devout Mormon, and much has been made about the sexual relationship between he and Arias.

Testimony continues today. On deck:  the male friend who Arias visited less than 12 hours after killing Travis Alexander.  Arias drove from Mesa Arizona to Utah in a rented car, and never mentioned anything about the incident to this man. He has reportedly said that despite the seasonal heat, Arias arrived dressed in a long sleeved shirt and had dyed her hair brown.  

This is a death penalty case - will Arias become Arizona's fourth woman on death row?  

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