Jury selection is under way in the death-penalty sentencing trial of a 34-year-old man who set his 2-year-old daughter on fire in 1999.
Shawn Grell's guilt was decided in 2001 and a judge sentenced him to death, but a change in the law since then required that a jury decide whether he is executed.
Attorneys began the jury selection on Wednesday and are expected to take until early next month.
Grell admitted that on Dec. 2, 1999, he picked up his daughter, Kristen Salem, from day care, took her to a fast-food restaurant, bought a gasoline can and drove her to a remote county island between Mesa and Apache Junction.
He said he laid his sleeping daughter down in the dirt, splashed gasoline on her and lit a match. She woke up and ran around in circles before succumbing.
Later that night he turned himself in to state Capitol police at the Capitol.
He decided to let Judge Barbara Jarrett of Maricopa County Superior Court decide his guilt rather than a jury. Grell and the state agreed upon a certain set of written facts to present to Jarrett, and she convicted him of first-degree murder.
At the time, Grell's attorneys said he agreed to that uncommon procedure in order to spare his daughter's family the horror of experiencing a prolonged jury trial that would contain graphic photographs and testimony.
The agreement also contained a provision that said he wouldn't give up any rights he "may have" to a jury sentencing.
Jarrett denied Grell's request for a jury sentencing, and she condemned him June 2001. But a year later, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Arizona's law of judges determining death rather than juries unconstitutional.
The Arizona Supreme Court unanimously decided in June 2006 that Grell did not give up his right to a jury sentencing when he waived his right to a jury trial.
"Grell's stipulation was thus not a meaningless reservation of a pipe-dream right," state Justice Rebecca White Berch wrote in the 52-page ruling.
Grell, whose IQ measures between 65 and 74, also claimed he was mentally disabled, but the Arizona Supreme Court upheld Jarrett's evaluation that he wasn't.