Jodi Arias Trial News Update: Arias to Return to Court May 16, Months Before Start of Penalty Trial
Although the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial won't begin until Sept., the convicted boyfriend killer is scheduled to return to court this week.
According to USA Today, Arias will be back in court Friday, May 16 while prosecutor Juan Martinez and her defense team present arguments about permitting video cameras in the retrial. They will also argue whether a Sheriff's investigation of mitigation specialist Maria De La Rosa can be allowed into evidence. Earlier this year, De La Rosa was temporarily banned from visiting Arias at the Estrella jail in south Phoenix after officials accused of "smuggling" one of Arias' drawings out of jail.
In May 2013, a jury found Arias, 33, guilty of first-degree murder in the ghastly death of her former boyfriend Travis Alexander in his Phoenix home in 2008. However, the jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision on her sentencing. As a result, a retrial is set for Sept. 8 to determine whether she should be sentenced to death, life in prison or life with a chance of release after serving 25 years, reports Reuters.
Should the jury deadlock again, then the death penalty will be completely off the table and Judge Sherry Stephens will decide whether to give Arias life in prison with or without parole.
Medical examiners found that Arias stabbed her ex-boyfriend 27 times, primarily in the back and in the torso and heart. She also slit Alexander's throat from ear to ear, nearly decapitating him, and shot him in the face before she dragged his bloodied corpse to the shower where she left him crumpled over. In total, the killing was done in a little less than two minutes.
Her initial trial garnered lots of media attention and publicity last year. However, this time around, Judge Sherry Stephens has motioned to limit media coverage in order to avoid the publicity around the high profile case. In addition, live video coverage and electronic devices have also been prohibited from the second trial.