TODAY   |  March 01, 2013

Sex, lies, and murder: The Jodi Arias trial

The Phoenix, Ariz., trial of Jodi Arias has been grabbing national headlines as details about the sexual relationship between Arias and the lover she’s accused of murdering come out. Dateline’s Josh Mankiewicz reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back now at 7:46 with a murder trial in phoenix that's trance fix iin transfixing the country. jodi arias is charged with murdering her ex-boyfriend.

>> did you kill travis alexander on june 4th , 2008 ?

>> yes, i did.

>> why?

>> the simple answer is that he attacked me and i was defending myself.

>> but there aren't many simple answers here. jodi arias says she killed her boyfriend, travis alexander, because she feared for her life. the prosecution says it was a love story that ended in murder.

>> she rewarded that love by sticking a knife in his chest.

>> reporter: for two months a phoenix jury has heard the steamy details of their relationship. this tawdry tale is set against the backdrop of a religion. travis was mormon and had taken a vow of chastity.

>> jodi represent ed the decision of going after someone he was physically attracted to whereas some other girls represented settling down and having a nice, stereotipp stereotippical relationship.

>> reporter: they broke up and friends say jodi became confessed.

>> travis confided in us, she snoops through my e-mails, through my house. she checks up on me constantly.

>> reporter: when travis was found, stabbed and shot to death, his friends told police, look for jodi . she denied everything.

>> you're trying to cover it up, because that's you, all of you.

>> it looks like me.

>> reporter: police showed her explicit photos they found at the crime scene proving she was at his house, having sex . she changed her story, blaming intruders, then changed it again, saying travis attacked her. her credibility has been at the center of this trial.

>> you say you have memory problems but it depends on the circumstance, right?

>> that's right.

>> what factors influence your having a memory problem?

>> usually when men like you are screaming at me or grilling at me, or someone like travis doing the same.

>> reporter: soon it will be up to a jury to decide whether jodi is a murderer or a victim. for "today," josh mankiewicz , nbc news, phoenix.

>> you can see more of josh's reporting tonight on a special "dateline" at 8:00, 7:00 central time here on nbc.