Attorneys back in court to narrow jury pool in Jodi Arias sentencing retrial

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 06, 2014 2:40 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Attorneys returned to an Arizona court on Monday to narrow an already whittled-down pool for selecting jurors who will determine whether convicted murderer Jodi Arias will be executed for killing her ex-boyfriend at his Phoenix-area home in 2008.

   Prosecutors and defense attorneys were scheduled to begin questioning 176 potential jurors who made the first cut to serve on the penalty phase retrial of the 34-year-old former California waitress.

   About 400 potential jurors were called into Maricopa County Superior Court in downtown Phoenix last week to begin the process of trying to select a 12-person jury, plus alternates, in the high-profile murder case.

    Arias was convicted in May 2013 of killing Travis Alexander, whose bloodied body was found in the shower of his home in Mesa, Arizona. He was stabbed 27 times, his throat was slashed, and he was shot in the face.

    The five-month trial featured lurid testimony and grim crime scene photographs, drawing many U.S. television and Internet viewers with the aid of live-streamed broadcasts. There will be no live broadcasts this time.

    Arias testified for 18 days, claiming she acted in self-defense.

    The same jury that convicted her in the murder case and found her eligible for capital punishment deadlocked on whether she should be put to death or be sentenced to a lengthy prison term, prompting a penalty phase mistrial.

Prosecutors then sought a retrial of the penalty phase. If a new jury again deadlocks, the death penalty will be off the table and Judge Sherry Stephens will decide if Arias gets life in prison, or life without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

    The jury selection process is expected to take several weeks, court officials said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham)