Jodi Arias: Hell Hath No Fury

Arias to represent herself at death penalty trial

Jodi-Arias-MArch-14,-2013-PhotoPHOENIX (AP) – A judge ruled Monday that Jodi Arias can represent herself in the upcoming penalty phase of her murder trial, where jurors will decide whether she is put to death for killing her ex-boyfriend.

Arias, 34, was convicted of first-degree murder last year in the 2008 killing of Travis Alexander, but jurors couldn’t reach a decision on sentencing. Under Arizona law, while Arias’ murder conviction stands, prosecutors have the option of putting on a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to secure the death penalty.

Arias, who has long clashed with her defense lawyers and tried to fire them previously, asked Judge Sherry Stephens to let her serve as her own lawyer during the second penalty phase set for Sept. 8. Stephens granted the request but said there would be no delays.

“I do not believe it is in your best interest … I strongly urge you to reconsider,” Stephens told Arias before granting the motion.

Arias will now have the task of arguing a death penalty case just four weeks from now despite having no legal experience and no college degree or high school diploma. Arias got her GED in jail.

Her defense lawyers will remain on as advisory council. They declined to comment on the latest developments. Prosecutors also declined comment.

Experts say the move might not be such a bad idea given the gruesome nature of the crime. Arias admitted killing Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home but said it was self-defense. He was stabbed nearly 30 times, had his throat slit and was shot in the forehead. Prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage when Alexander wanted to end their affair.

“It’s actually probably a good idea to represent herself,” said San Francisco-area defense attorney Daniel Horowitz. “She looks like a vicious psychopath with a ridiculous defense.”

However, Horowitz noted, the jury “may find her pathetic.”

“If she can get just one juror to bond with her on some level, even if they hate her, they’re getting to know her, and it’s harder to kill someone you know,” he said.

The five-month trial that began in January 2013 provided seemingly endless amounts of cable TV and tabloid fodder, including a recorded phone sex call between Arias and the victim, nude photos, bloody crime-scene pictures and a defendant who described her life story in intimate detail over 18 days on the witness stand.

Arias told jurors of an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, her sexual relationship with Alexander and her contention that he had grown physically violent.

“They thought she was a liar. She was narcissistic. She was arrogant, and it made it easy to convict her,” Horowitz said. “But that’s a lot different than killing somebody.”

Phoenix defense lawyer Mel McDonald, a former Maricopa County judge and federal prosecutor, agreed that Arias doesn’t have much to lose.

“I think generally that anybody that represents themselves has a fool for a client, but it also gives her a way, if she’s out there making a fool of herself, to maybe invoke some sympathy from a juror,” McDonald said.

Arias’ feud with her attorneys has been ongoing since early in the case and intensified after she gave a series of media interviews following her conviction in May 2013. Her lawyers have tried to withdraw several times, but the judge has rebuffed their requests.

If the new jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the death penalty will be removed from consideration. The judge would then sentence Arias to spend her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.

Source: AP

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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MARY says:

I am hoping Jodi gets the death penalty but without a set date known to her, so every time her cell door opens she will wonder if this is the date. I know they won’t do it that way but it would certainly take that smirk off her face. If she is given the date of her death, how about a series of postponements? that should be just as effective!

carol says:

Lee I’m so in agreement with you. Everything else was televised so why not Jodi making a dunce out of herself.

lee c fairfax says:

and when it’s all over and Hodi (hopefully) gets the death penalty she will file an ‘ineffective assistance of council’ brief both against Slurmie in the original case and herself in the penalty phase and , probably sue the judge for allowing her to be her own lawyer. even if said judge gets to decide the penalty and gives Hodi only a few years instead of LwoP. Arias saga will go on for years… maybe even while being out of prison.

SRS says:

The State should have a lottery for her execution. “We The People” should have a final say when one lottery winner pushes the button on her. And I saw and read that this murderer is planing books, a movie, and doing her art. Well, what Travis’s family should do right away is hit her with a lawsuit that gives them ALL rights to what she has planned. That is, every book, every movie script, every piece of her art goes to them. They can then have a public bonfire with it.

ava says:

hang on lee…miss stabby is making arguments for camera coverage…let the death row show begin. hang on Travis, justice is coming

Elizabeth says:

“Miss Stabby.” Omg, that was laugh-outloud good!”

lee c fairfax says:

Ava. I missed that Hodi is requesting cameras. I am delighted. It adds yet another depth to this craziness.

lee c fairfax says:

absolutely fabulous. I’m sick it won’t be telecast. I bet she beats the death sentence. I have no faith in the system since Casey A beat the rap and this one finagled the first jury. she managed to turn an open and shut case into a doubt. how do you cross examine, object and testify at the same time?

Robert Howell says:

Jodi Arias should get her wish of death, and save the tax payers money. It would be 12 years Plus before execution.
No Trial I have ever seen is gruesome as what Jodi did.
The plan to kill Travis, the cover up, the stolen 25 cal. and not one witness for Jodi came forth, not even family.


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