No date set for Jodi Arias retrial
(HLNtv.com) — Convicted killer Jodi Arias still doesn’t know when the retrial of the penalty phase of her case will begin.
Judge Sherry Stephens said at a brief hearing Monday that she would not schedule the retrial until she has had the chance to review two motions that the defense filed last week. Stephens said she would hear arguments on those motions at a hearing set for September 16.
Arias showed up at Monday’s hearing in Phoenix wearing a striped jail uniform and shackles on her wrists.
Her retrial will apply only to the penalty phase of the case. Twelve jurors already found Arias guilty on May 8 of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in June 2008. Alexander was found stabbed multiple times, shot once in the head and with his throat slit from ear to ear.
During the trial’s aggravation phase, those same jurors found that Arias acted “in a cruel manner,” but in the first penalty phase, they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision about whether she should be sentenced to death via lethal injection or life in prison.
The new motions under consideration include two issues raised by Arias’ defense team.
Arias’ attorneys want to limit or ban live TV coverage of her upcoming retrial, citing concerns for her right to a fair trial. They say live coverage during her first trial led to death threats against them and their witnesses.
The defense team is also asking Stephens to force prospective jurors to turn over information about their Twitter accounts. Arias’ attorneys say that, even if jurors refrain from discussing the trial, nothing is stopping other people from reaching out to them on social media with information that may influence their decisions. The attorneys say the only way to monitor this influence is for them to know about the jurors’ Twitter usage.
At a hearing in July, Stephens said she wants to start the retrial in late September, but Arias’ defense team is pushing to have it start sometime next year. Defense attorneys said they requested a later date to allow them to gather more witnesses to testify on Arias’ behalf.
A new jury will be selected in the penalty-phase retrial, and those jurors will only decide Arias’ sentence. If the second jury cannot reach an unanimous verdict, Arias will automatically get life in prison. Stephens would ultimately decide whether the convicted killer will get life without parole or life with the eligibility of parole after 25 years.