Jodi Arias penalty phase retrial set for September
Mar. 17, 2014
PHOENIX (AP) — Prosecutors will again try to convince a jury to sentence Jodi Arias to death in a second penalty phase that will begin in September.
During a hearing Monday, which Arias did not attend, a judge set the new trial date with jury selection to begin Sept. 8.
The 33-year-old former waitress was convicted of first-degree murder in May for the 2008 killing of her one-time boyfriend in Arizona, but jurors couldn't reach a decision on a sentence.
Under Arizona law, while her murder conviction stands, prosecutors have the option of putting on a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to secure a death sentence.
If the second panel fails to reach a unanimous decision, the death penalty will be removed from consideration. The judge then would sentence Arias to spend her entire life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.
Her second penalty phase retrial had been scheduled to begin Monday but was postponed because of a prosecution scheduling conflict.
Arias admitted that she killed her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home but claimed it was self-defense. He suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, 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.
Also Monday, defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told the judge he had filed a motion seeking to have the death penalty removed as an option for sentencing. The document wasn't yet publicly available, and Nurmi didn't return a telephone message seeking comment.
Judge Sherry Stephens has already denied similar previous motions by the defense.
Last month, Stephens denied a separate defense motion that argued Arizona law allowing a retrial of the penalty phase is unconstitutional.