PHOENIX - A mutual friend of accused murderer Jodi Arias and victim Travis Alexander is speaking out for the first time since he testified for the defense in January.
Daniel Freeman was the friend caught in the middle. He was closer to Alexander, but so charmed by Arias he considered her part of his family.
“She was like a sister. She was part of the family and in my family when you’re a friend you’re family,” said Freeman of his once close relationship to Arias.
Freeman said what most people don’t know is that he was closer to Alexander, but wanted to give Arias the benefit of the doubt when fingers instantly pointed her way after Alexander was found dead.
Arias faces a possible death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder in the June 2008 killing of Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home.
“I kind of defended her and said ‘you know I don't know if she did it or not, but I can't treat her like she has unless I know, and the person I know wouldn't have done it,” said Freeman.
Freeman said he now realizes he really didn’t know Arias all that well.
On the day she was arrested a friend called to “rub” it in, but the news came an hour after his brother committed suicide and Freeman was consumed by a different tragedy.
“At that point, it really didn’t matter," said Freeman.
Freeman visited Arias several times in jail, but the visits soon stopped. He just needed to move on.
“People would tell me to go see her when I was in town. I would think about it, but then never went,” said Freeman.
In 2010 Freeman was told he could be called to testify for either the prosecution or the defense and not to watch news reports.
He didn’t watch the news and his friends held back telling him things.
“My grandmother has watched the entire trial and hasn’t told me a thing,” said Freeman.
So Freeman had never heard Arias’ third and final claim that she killed in self-defense. He only knew the intruder story.
Arias’ attorneys called him to testify with only two choices, come on his own free will or be subpoenaed.
“I was just there to tell the truth and whoever called me would've got the same answers” said Freeman.
When Freeman took the stand he said Arias didn’t look like the Jodi he knew.
“Whey started the questioning that’s when I realized they were trying to paint Travis as the bad guy. Sitting on the stand, I kind of smiled because I knew that wouldn't work. He was a good guy - there wasn't anything bad in anything I ever saw,” recalled Freeman.
Freeman remembers looking over to Arias wondering what was she thinking, but only got a blank stare in return.
He also recalls looking over at Prosecutor Juan Martinez chuckling with Detective Estaban Flores. He said he knew Martinez was about to make him a witness for the prosecution and he welcomed it.
“At least it crossed my mind and whether or not it crossed his I don't know. But what crossed my mind was he realized I was just telling the truth and that I wasn't for the defense and that most of what I said he could actually use,” Freeman told ABC15
Arias’ final story that Alexander physically, emotionally and sexually abused her was too much for Freeman.
“To me, I see someone who was a good man being dragged through the mud. We all have our weaknesses; we all have the things in our lives that we struggle with that are vices and it's not often that we have all our vices and dirty laundry dragged out for the whole world to see.”
In court, Freeman told jurors Arias and Alexander fought, but nothing out of the ordinary from a typical couple.
He said Alexander wanted to move on, but Arias just kept coming around and Alexander had trouble saying “no” to her.
"When you're living a lifestyle that conflicts with your belief's to the degree with what Travis was doing, to me, that was why he said he couldn't marry her. He told me that before he said 'I love her, I care about her, but I can't marry her.'”
And as for Arias’ latest claims in court, Freeman shakes his head.
“I don't believe her story. He (Travis) was murdered.”
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Click on the region names in the map below to see news from that region.
Things To Do
INSIDE: Check out our top pick for weekend events around Arizona!
RIGHT NOW: Top Stories
Police said the suspect was shot when he threw a sharp weapon at officers.
A quick moving storm system is going to bring light rainfall to the Valley, mountain snow and chilly temperatures Saturday through Sunday.
He served his country in Vietnam and now the community is serving him. A Mesa man says his dog is recovering from a hit-and-run last month and a Valley non-profit is stepping in to help.
City officials recommend that people traveling to Tempe arrival early and use park-and-ride lots and take light rail.
Multiple events, including the Pac-12 game, are expected to draw major crowds in Tempe.
While investigators search for clues to a Thanksgiving murder, a woman and her two sons are trying to find the courage to carry on without him.