Jodi Arias no longer wants to represent herself

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 10, 2014 5:26 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias no longer wants to represent herself in the upcoming second penalty phase in her murder case, according to a court filing Wednesday.

The three-page document by her court-appointed attorneys notes that Arias is relinquishing her right to serve as her own lawyer, "effective immediately upon filing."

Judge Sherry Stephens previously granted Arias' motion to serve as her own attorney after conflicts arose with one of her lawyers over trial strategy. Attorney Kirk Nurmi then sought to quit the case, noting in a motion that "a completely fractured relationship between counsel (and client) now exists."

Stephens denied his request, and ordered Nurmi and another lawyer to remain on as legal advisers to Arias.

Stephens previously told Arias she could change her mind and relinquish her right to represent herself. Her court-appointed attorneys will now again take over as lead counsel.

The retrial is set for Sept. 29.

Arias' lawyers did not return telephone messages Wednesday. Prosecutors declined comment.

The 34-year-old former waitress was convicted of murder last year in the 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend, but jurors couldn't reach a decision on her sentence. Under Arizona law, 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 new jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the death penalty will be removed as an option. The judge would then sentence Arias to spend her entire life behind bars or be eligible for release after 25 years.

Arias admitted killing Travis Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home, but she said it was self-defense. He was stabbed nearly 30 times, had his throat slit and was shot in the head.

Prosecutors argued the killing was premeditated and carried out in a jealous rage when Alexander wanted to end their affair.