Jodi Arias jury to weigh possible death sentence in Arizona murder trial
Jodi Arias, facing the possibility of a death sentence for the murder of an ex-boyfriend in Arizona, was due back in court Monday for the final phase of a four-month-long trial.
Arias, 32, was found guilty of murdering Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home five years ago. He had been stabbed multiple times, had his throat slashed and been shot in the face.
The same jury that convicted Arias of murder found last week that she had acted with extreme cruelty and ruled her eligible for the death penalty. Those jurors are tasked with deciding whether Arias, who has said she would prefer execution to life in prison, will get the death penalty.
Hearing testimony on Thursday on the impact of the slaying, Alexander’s younger brother Steven told jurors that the killing had invaded his dreams and that he had been hospitalized several times for ulcers since the murder.
Alexander’s younger sister Samantha, meanwhile, said thoughts of “the pain, agony, the screams and the fear” of her brother’s last moments remained stuck in her mind.
Arias has said she shot Alexander with his own pistol when he attacked her in a rage because she dropped his camera while taking snapshots of him in the shower. She said she did not remember stabbing him.
The case featured graphic testimony and photographs as well as a sex tape and became a sensation on cable television news with its tale of an attractive and soft-spoken young woman charged with such a brutal crime.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez said Arias had repeatedly stabbed Alexander for two minutes as he tried to escape from the bathroom. She then followed the bleeding victim down a hallway and slashed his throat when he was too weak to get away.
Alexander, a 30-year-old businessman and motivational speaker with whom Arias said she was having an on-again, off-again affair, knew he was going to die and was unable to resist his attacker at that point, Martinez said.
On Thursday, defense attorney Kirk Nurmi walked jurors through eight mitigating factors they are asked to consider as they mull Arias’ punishment. Among the factors is whether Arias, who was 27 at the time of the murder and had no criminal history, had suffered abuse.
Nurmi said two friends would testify on behalf of Arias and jurors would get to see her artwork. Arias also will have the opportunity to address the jury, “but in a different way,” he said, speaking about her life prior to meeting Alexander.
The trial is scheduled to resume at mid-morning.