Jodi Arias Trial Update; Arias Retrial Will Start in September; Jodi Arias Twitter Feed Quotes Maya Angelou, Apologizes for Wasting Taxpayer Money (Video)
By Staff Writer | July 17, 2013 07:12 PM EDT
The Jodi Arias trial will continue to September at least. Judge Sherry Stephens ruled today that the Jodi Arias defense team will have to wait until September to have another opportunity to convince a jury that she should not get the death penalty. After a five month trial that hypnotized America with lurid tales of sex, betrayal and a bloody killing, Jodi Arias was convicted of premeditated murder in the grisly slaying of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. The jury wasn’t able to decide whether to sentence the former waitress and aspiring photographer to life in prison or sentence her to death. The Jodi Arias trial ended in a mistrial, but the guilty verdict stands.
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The judge ruled that a new jury can be seated to decide on sentencing for Jodi Arias. Judge Sherry Stephens, who oversaw the Jodi Arias trial, told the defense and the prosecution to set a date for late September to finish the punishment phase of the Jodi Arias trial at a hearing today. Judge Stephens called for the next hearing to be held Aug. 26.
Arias was surrounded by tactical sheriff's deputies when she was was brought into the Maricopa County courtroom for the hearing. Arias was convicted of first-degree murder May 8 and her case has been now in limbo as prosecutors decide whether to put on another penalty phase. The judge said a new jury could be impaneled sometime in late September to decide whether Jodi Arias should be sentenced to death or life in prison for killing her boyfriend. Attorneys have continued to file motions but have otherwise been quiet on details of any deal to resolve the case without another trial.
Yesterday, Jodi Arias took to Twitter to comment, “The State rejected my 3rd request for a plea to settle quietly and less expensively. Off to retrial we go. Sorry, taxpayers.” She also noted “A few of my dedicated haters came all the way 2 court 2day just 2 glare at me. I'm flattered. Thought it was I who had nothing better 2 do.”
The latest Jodi Arias hearing was called so her defense attorney, Kirk Nurmi, could make arguments for his motion to vacate the jury's finding that the Alexander killing was especially cruel. The designation of the aggravating factor qualified the crime to make it punishable by a death sentence. Nurmi wanted to spare Jodi Arias the death penalty by arguing that the definition of "especially cruel" is too vague for jurors with no legal experience to determine what makes one killing more cruel or heinous than another. Nurmi told Judge Stephens that he wasn’t yet prepared to make the argument and needed more time.
Arias initially denied killing Alexander but eventually said she killed him in self-defense after he attacked her while they were shooting a nude video. Since then, Jodi Arias has steadfastly maintained that she killed Alexander in self-defense. She is being held in Maricopa County jail waiting for the punishment phase of the trial. The prosecution said that the premeditated murder was carried out in a jealous rage after Alexander wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman. If a second jury is seated for the new phase, both the prosecution and defense will spend weeks presenting evidence to have the new jury catch up on murder trial that took five months. The second jury could sentence Arias to death. If the prosecution decides not to seek the death penalty a second time, Arias will not face a death sentence. Judge Stephens will sentence her to either life in prison without parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole. That decision would be up to the judge.
Judge Sherry Stephens gave defense attorneys until Aug. 5 to file final motions supporting their arguments. Another status conference in the case for has been set for Aug. 26. Judge Stephens noted that she would like to set a retrial date for late September.
by Tony Sokol
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