Prosecutors in Jodi Arias sentencing retrial deny pornography deleted

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 12, 2014 6:38 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona prosecutors on Wednesday denied claims by lawyers for convicted murderer Jodi Arias, who accused the state of deleting thousands of pornographic files from the victim's computer.

Arias was found guilty last year of murdering her former boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008, but the jury deadlocked over what punishment to give her. A new jury was impaneled last month to decide whether or not she should be executed. 

Asking Judge Sherry Stephens to toss out the charges, or at least dismiss the death penalty option, defense lawyers argued in a motion on Monday that the state committed prosecutorial misconduct by deleting the files from Alexander's computer.

Prosecutors said on Wednesday the files did not exist. They said Arias' previous attorneys should be blamed if any files were found to be missing, and they added that the computer in question was infected by a virus.

"The facts are opposite of their position," prosecutor Juan Martinez told a judge in Maricopa County Superior Court, responding to the defense's accusations.

Defense lawyer Kirk Nurmi said the files would have helped bolster their case, and that the investigation continues.

"There is a plethora of evidence being uncovered," Nurmi told the court. Stephens did not immediately rule on the motion, and a hearing is expected to be held at a later date.

After a delay of nearly two weeks that was caused by a dispute over whether proceedings would be closed to the public, jurors were back in court to hear testimony in the sentencing retrial for the 34-year-old former California waitress.

The original murder trial drew a nationwide audience with its titillating sexual details and gruesome crime scene photos.

Alexander's body was found slumped in a shower at his Phoenix-area home. He had been stabbed multiple times, his throat was slashed, and he was shot in the face.

    Arias said she acted in self-defense, but prosecutors accused her of killing her former partner in a jealous rage.

On Wednesday the court also heard testimony from a defense witness, a clinical psychologist, who was questioned by Arias' lawyers about the nature of the relationship between the pair.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Beech)