Arias to represent self at US death penalty trial
PHOENIX (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 in a sensational trial last year in the 2008 killing of Travis Alexander, but jurors couldn’t reach a decision on sentencing. Under Arizona law, Arias’ murder conviction stands, and prosecutors have the option of putting on a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to secure a death sentence.
The case captured headlines worldwide and became a cable television staple with its tales of sex, lies and a brutal killing.
A new trial to determine the sentence is scheduled to begin Sept. 8. If the second panel fails to end in a unanimous decision, the death penalty would 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.
Arias told the judge of her intentions to act as her own lawyer, and Judge Sherry Stephens granted the request.
She admitted killing Travis Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home but claimed 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.