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Defense attorney offers insight into Jodi Arias strategy

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Jodi Arias was on the witness stand for three straight days this week, telling jurors how she was sexually manipulated, controlled and physically abused by her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Arias is on trial for the murder of Alexander, who was found dead in his Mesa home in 2008. Arias said she killed Alexander in self-defense.

Anthony Knowles is a criminal defense attorney, who's been keeping a close eye on the case.

Knowles told CBS 5 News that Arias' strategy is pretty simple - convince the jury that the ongoing abuse she reportedly endured played a key role in the death of Alexander, who was stabbed 27 times and shot in the head.

"If she was subject to physical and emotional abuse on part of the victim that does play into self-defense, because it's a factor in her state of mind on the night of the incident," said Knowles.

Arias spent hours on the witness stand detailing her sexual encounters with Alexander, while telling jurors how she was forced to do things she didn't want.

Her testimony has brought to light the issue of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Connie Phillips is executive director of the Sojourner Center, which helps hundreds of abused women across the Valley each year.

Phillips admits that Arias may not be the perfect person to help spotlight the problems so many women face, but if her trial gets people talking about domestic and sexual violence, then it doesn't matter who's sparking the conversation.

"Some of the allegations she's made are very similar to what I hear from so many women," said Phillips. "One in four women are experiencing these types of acts. These are the same types of acts she's describing, so whether or not she is making it up or not, that's to for me to say, but I can tell these are actual events that happen to actual women who feel trapped in their relationships."

Phillips said that another high profile case that brought a lot of awareness to domestic violence was the OJ Simpson case. It really got the ball rolling on letting women know what types of services and help are available, according to Phillips.

For more information on domestic violence assistance go to www.sojournercenter.org or call their 24-hour Crisis Support Line at 602-244-0089.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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