Key details in the penalty retrial of Jodi Arias
PHOENIX (AP) — The murder conviction of Jodi Arias will stand, but she is returning to court Monday for a second penalty phase to determine her punishment for the 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend. A new jury will decide if Arias is sentenced to death. Here are some key things to know about the case:
Arias, a 34-year-old former waitress, has acknowledged killing Travis Alexander but claimed it was self-defense. He suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, had his throat slit and was shot in the head in his suburban Phoenix home. Prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage.
HUNDREDS OF POSSIBLE JURORS
About 300 prospective jurors will initially be called in the effort to seat an impartial panel. Under Arizona law, prosecutors get one more shot at trying to secure a death sentence after the first panel deadlocked. If the new jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the death penalty will be removed as an option and a judge will sentence her to spend the rest of her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.
NOT SEEN ON TV
Arias’ first trial was broadcast live, providing endless cable TV and tabloid fodder, including a recorded phone sex call between Arias and the victim, nude photos and bloody crime-scene pictures. Her attorneys claimed the televised spectacle led to threats against one of Arias’ lawyers and defense witnesses who then refused to testify. Citing Arias’ right to a fair trial, the judge ruled that no footage of the retrial can be broadcast until after the verdict.
SCREENING THE JURY
The new proceedings could last until mid-December. Prosecution and defense witness lists have been sealed along with the jury questionnaire. Experts believe prospective jurors will be asked about their knowledge of the case, how much they followed it in the media, and whether they have already made up their minds on Arias’ punishment. The prosecution likely will call witnesses to paint Arias as a habitual liar and callous killer who deserves death. Arias’ attorneys are expected to rely on witnesses who portray her as a victim of abuse whose life is worth saving.
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