Jodi Arias: Hell Hath No Fury

Witnesses for Arias won’t testify in open court


This May 15, 2013, file pool photo shows Jodi Arias looking at the family of Travis Alexander as the jury arrives during the sentencing phase of her trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. Arias' legal bills have topped $2 million, a tab being footed by Arizona taxpayers that will only continue to climb with a new penalty phase set for March, officials said Monday Jan. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, File)

This May 15, 2013, file pool photo shows Jodi Arias looking at the family of Travis Alexander as the jury arrives during the sentencing phase of her trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. Arias’ legal bills have topped $2 million, a tab being footed by Arizona taxpayers that will only continue to climb with a new penalty phase set for March, officials said Monday Jan. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Lawyers for Jodi Arias have asked a judge to take the death penalty off the table at her sentencing retrial because three witnesses on her behalf have refused to testify in open court.

The attorneys said in court filings last week that the witnesses fear they’ll be harassed or threatened if they testify.

The lawyers say the refusal means Arias can’t get a complete defense as a jury hears evidence over whether to sentence her to life in prison or death for the killing of her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

The three witnesses in question haven’t been publicly identified, but defense attorneys have described them as a longtime Arias boyfriend, one of her former co-workers, and a person who was a friend of Alexander before he met Arias.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting Arias, declined to comment on the request to throw out the death penalty.

Arias was convicted last year of murder in Alexander’s 2008 death, but jurors deadlocked on her punishment. A new jury is deciding her sentence.

An appeals court decision last week overturned a ruling that closed the courtroom as Arias’ first witness testified. Her lawyers previously said the witness would testify only in a closed courtroom.

Some of the testimony in question was conducted in private. The Arizona Republic and three Phoenix TV stations — KPNX, KPHO and KTVK — protested the closure and ultimately succeeded in getting the ruling by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens thrown out.

The Arizona Court of Appeals suggested in its ruling last week that the previously unidentified witness might have been Arias herself, though it remains unclear.

The news organizations are now urging Stephens to release a transcript of the Oct. 30 testimony.

The Arias case has been marked by secrecy since the conclusion of the first trial, where salacious and violent details about Arias and Alexander were broadcast live around the world.

Since then, the judge has held one secret hearing after another and barred the broadcast of footage from the sentencing retrial until after a verdict is reached.

Arias’ lawyers had argued that daily broadcasts of the trial would lead to defense witnesses backing out for fear of being harassed or threatened.

JACQUES BILLEAUD

Source: AP

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

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lee c fairfax says:

Can’t witnesses just be subpoenaed to open court and refuse to testify there? I don’t get this refusal to testify. Subpoena them and let them bring a lawyer to argue their refusal?

   
Rocky says:

All this BS would have been finished with if they had a real judge to start with.

   
Jodi J. says:

What happened to “If I killed Travis I would beg for the the death penalty”? Just give it to her already.

   
lee c fairfax says:

just another drama-lie like all the rest of Hodi’s words.

   

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