In a last-ditch effort to avoid conviction and save the life of accused murderer Jodi Arias, her defense team today called a final expert witness they hoped would convince jurors that Arias suffered post-traumatic stress disorder that caused her to kill her boyfriend.
“We’re looking at a consistent pattern of trauma,” psychologist Robert Geffner told the jury on what is expected to be the last day of testimony.
Arias’ attorneys have argued that she was abused, both physically and emotionally, by ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in the months leading up to his death.
She has confessed to killing Alexander during a violent argument on June 4, 2008, claiming that she accidentally shot him in self-defense when he charged at her in a rage after having sex and taking nude photos of each other.
Prosecutors argue that she drove to Alexander’s house with intent to kill, and then stabbed him, shot him, and slashed his throat before leaving him to die. Expert psychologists who testified for the prosecution have said Arias showed signs of borderline personality disorder, not PTSD.
The difference could be significant for a jury. PTSD would suggest that Arias had experienced traumatic abuse. The prosecution’s expert said symptoms of borderline personality disorder includes a history of unstable personal relationships, inappropriate anger, feelings of emptiness, suicidal thoughts and some elements of paranoia.
Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.