Jurors in the Jodi Arias murder trial were in tears
Thursday during the first day of her death penalty hearing while listening to the victim's family members discuss the effects the murder and subsequent trial had on them.
"I thought my brother was bulletproof. I thought he was stronger than anything, that he couldn't be cut down or knocked down," Stephen Alexander said about his slain sibling, 31-year-old Travis Alexander, who was killed by Arias at his home in Mesa, Arizona on June 4, 2008.
"He was unbreakable. Who would want to do this to him? For what reasons? Unfortunately I won't ever get the answers to most of my questions."
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Stephen added that after his brother's murder, he suffered from nightmares and has been hospitalized for ulcers
, as well as having become withdrawn and depressed, and eventually separated from his wife, ABC News reported.
"The nature of my brother's murder has had a major impact on me. It's even invaded my dreams," Steven told jurors. "I've had nightmares about somebody coming after me with a knife, then going after my wife and my daughter."
At one point while addressing the jury, Stephen paused while choking back tears.
"I don't want these nightmares anymore," he said. "I don't want to see my brother's murderer anymore."
Neither Alexander's brother nor sister was permitted to petition the jury directly for any particular sentence. The siblings were allowed only to express how their brother's murder affected them personally and what type of person Alexander was.
"We have been at this trial every day since it started," Samantha Alexander said. "We have heard every detail about the crime and the injuries Travis suffered. I am a police officer, and some of these photos are more gruesome than what I've seen in 11 years of law enforcement."
Samantha also described how their grandmother, who raised the victim, experienced failing health after the killing, dying shortly before jury selection.
"Travis was the glue in our family," Samantha said. "Travis was our strength, our beacon of hope, our motivation . . . Our lives will never be the same . . . We would give anything to have him back."
Travis Alexander was shot in the forehead, had his throat slit from ear to ear and sustained nearly 30 knife wounds to body overall. The violent slaying was apparently fueled by a jealous rage after Alexander wanted to end his affair with Arias
and prepared to take a trip to Mexico with another woman, the Associated Press reported.
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The jury's verdict will determine if Arias receives the death penalty for her crime or spends the rest of her life in prison. If given the death penalty, Arias will be Arizona's third woman on death row awaiting execution, ABC News reports.
Shortly after being found guilty of first degree murder, Arias told a reporter she would prefer death to life in prison.
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