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PHOENIX (AP) — An appeals court on Tuesday revealed some of the reasons Jodi Arias refused to testify in an open courtroom during the penalty phase of her trial, including purported death threats she is getting in jail.
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“Personally, I think that the Brown family of Ferguson should be held liable for all the damages in Ferguson. Their son caused it all. And they are doing everything possible to egg it on.”
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Brandyn Leonard did not look taxed, but he should charge people for admission to see him do his thing.
PHOENIX (AP) — Defense attorneys for convicted murderer Jodi Arias sought to portray the victim Wednesday as a man torn between his devout Mormon faith and his secret sexual urges as they worked to convince a jury to spare her life.
Arias was found guilty of murder last year in the 2008 killing of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home, but jurors deadlocked on whether she should be sentenced to death or life in prison.
Prosecutors have one more shot with a new jury to secure a death sentence. Otherwise, Arias faces life in prison.
Testimony Wednesday mirrored the previous trial during which Arias' attorneys portrayed her as a naive woman in love with a man who only used her for sex, while Alexander maintained to friends and family that he was a virgin and devout Mormon saving himself for marriage.
"There's a mastery here of deception," said defense witness L.C. Miccio-Fonseca, a psychologist who described Alexander as a man who led two separate lives — one of sexual deviancy with Arias and another of religious conviction around his friends and family.
"He was a committed Mormon," Miccio-Fonseca said. "He was a spiritual man. I think he really genuinely struggled with this."
Prosecutors argue that Arias killed Alexander in a jealous rage after he wanted to end their affair. He suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the head and had his throat slit. Arias acknowledged killing him, but claims it was self-defense after he attacked her in his home.
Miccio-Fonseca said that despite being snubbed in public by Alexander and kept hidden from his friends and family, Arias continued to seek his affection and sex because she was in love with him.
"Love is pretty powerful and so it makes us do crazy things," she said.
"Because her love for him was powerful, wasn't it?" asked defense attorney Kirk Nurmi.
"Oh yes," Miccio-Fonseca said.
The retrial resumed Wednesday with arguments by defense attorneys accusing authorities of destroying evidence on Alexander's computer that may have benefited Arias' case. They say files were deleted by police that showed he had visited numerous pornographic websites, something her attorneys claim would have helped bolster Arias' contention that the victim was a sexual deviant.
They are seeking a dismissal of all charges or at least to have the death penalty removed as a sentencing option.
The judge denied a request by the defense to delay the trial based on the allegations, explaining she would take up the matter at a later date.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez said his office had the computer reanalyzed just this week, and it showed the defense claims are false. He also noted that if anything was deleted from the computer, it was done by Arias' previous defense attorneys, not authorities.
"It confirmed that he had not accessed any of the (pornographic) sites that they're claiming he accessed," Martinez said.
But Nurmi told the judge a "plethora of evidence" is being uncovered by computer experts "as we speak."
The retrial is expected to continue into December.
The legal team for Jodi Arias will keep pushing for jurors to spare her the death penalty in the 2008 slaying of her ex-boyfriend as the convicted killer's sentencing retrial resumes Wednesday.
The sentencing retrial of Jodi Arias is scheduled to resume Wednesday after a nearly two-week break during which news organizations protested a decision to let a skittish defense witness testify in private and authorities were accused of destroying evidence.
KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) -- A man charged in the disappearance and death of an Arizona girl wants to represent himself in the case.
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona appeals court ruled Monday that the public should be able to watch testimony in the Jodi Arias trial, overruling a judge's unusual decision to allow a witness to testify in private as jurors weigh whether to give the convicted murderer the death penalty.
A three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in favor of news organizations that were fighting Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens' surprise decision last Thursday to close the courtroom as the defense began its case.
Lawyers for The Arizona Republic and three Phoenix TV stations — KPNX, KPHO and KTVK — wanted the testimony halted while they appealed Stephens' ruling allowing an unidentified defense witness to testify in private.
However, the decision doesn't reveal the identity of the mystery witness who testified last week at the start of the defense case.
It also said that the appeals court "will address the merits of the special action petition in due course and after receiving any response or reply filed," so it's unclear how long the stay will last.
Arias was convicted last year of killing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander at his home in suburban Phoenix on June 2008, but jurors deadlocked on her punishment. A new jury will decide whether she'll be sentenced to life imprisonment or death.
Prosecutors said Arias attacked Alexander in a jealous rage after he wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.
Alexander was stabbed and slashed nearly 30 times, his throat was slit so deeply that he was nearly decapitated and he also was shot in the forehead. His body in left in a shower where friends found him about five days later.
Arias has acknowledged killing Alexander but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her.
The case has been marked by secrecy ever since the conclusion of the first trial, which turned in to a media circus as salacious and violent details about Arias and Alexander were broadcast live for people around the world.
Since then, the judge has held one secret hearing after another and barred the broadcast of footage from the sentencing retrial until after a verdict is reached.
Arias' lawyers had argued that daily broadcasts of the trial would lead to defense witnesses backing out for fear of being harassed or threatened.
In addition, prosecutors have refused to provide details about what it has cost to twice put Arias on trial, saying the judge forbids them from discussing the case outside court. County officials, however, have reported that Arias' defense bill has topped $2.5 million, all being paid for by taxpayers.
PHOENIX - The judge in the Jodi Arias trial took the highly unusual step Thursday of barring the public from watching the first witness called by the convicted murderer's legal team as she fights to be spared the death penalty.
Lawyers for Jodi Arias will begin making their case Thursday that the convicted murderer should be spared the death penalty for the brutal 2008 killing of her former boyfriend.
PHOENIX (AP) — Siblings of the man murdered by Jodi Arias tearfully told a jury Thursday how they are still traumatized by his killing six years ago, recounting a litany of nightmares, ulcers and family troubles brought on by the loss of their beloved family member.
The family members spoke to the jury that is deciding whether the 34-year-old Arias should get the death penalty or a life sentence in the 2008 killing of Travis Alexander. He was shot and stabbed in his shower by Arias in what prosecutors described as a jealous rage after he wanted to break off their relationship and see other people. Arias says it was self-defense.
Steven Alexander described nightmares, ulcers and constant trauma from losing his brother, including locking the doors when he showers. Tanisha Sorenson called it a "living hell."
"When I lay down at night, all I can think about is my brother's murder," Steven Alexander said as other family members could be heard crying in the gallery.
A jury last year convicted Arias of murder but deadlocked on whether she should be sentenced to life in prison or death. A new jury was seated to decide the punishment again. The defense is expected to begin its case later Thursday.
The family statements came after several days of prosecution testimony, primarily by the Mesa detective who investigated the case and interrogated Arias. Jurors also saw gruesome crime-scene photos and heard an X-rated phone call between Arias and the victim in the weeks before the killing.
Much of the testimony and evidence was a repeat from the original trial, which attracted a global following as it was televised live. The retrial is not being broadcast live, however.
Jurors at the sentencing retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias saw a series of gruesome photos that showed her ex-boyfriend's dead body crammed into a shower at his house — his throat slit.
PHOENIX (AP) — A prosecutor at the sentencing retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias showed jurors two photos Tuesday of her ex-boyfriend and victim Travis Alexander.
One was an unremarkable picture of his face taken some time before his death. The other was a crime-scene photo showing his slit throat.
"She loved him so much that this is what she did to him," prosecutor Juan Martinez said in his opening statement, describing the gruesome suffering Arias inflicted on Alexander before his death in 2008.
"There are no mitigating circumstances in this case. None," Martinez said. "The only just punishment for this crime is death."
Arias has acknowledged killing Alexander but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her. Prosecutors said it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.
Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said Tuesday that Arias was the victim of profound sexual humiliation by Alexander, and that she is mentally ill and a victim of child abuse.
He urged jurors to sentence her to life in prison, saying she is remorseful about killing the man who never acknowledged to others that she was his girlfriend.
"Jodi Arias was always the girl behind the closed door in the bedroom," Nurmi told jurors.
He suggested his client would testify during the proceedings expected to last until December.
"She will tell you how horrified she is that she killed the man she loved," Nurmi said.
Arias, sporting shoulder-length hair and wearing a beige blouse, often looked at the jury while her lawyer laid out his case. She turned away, however, as the prosecutor detailed the crime that included shooting Alexander in the head and stabbing him nearly 30 times.
Members of the Alexander and Arias families looked on from the front rows of the courtroom during the opening statements.
Jurors were shown naked photographs that Alexander and Arias took of each other shortly before Alexander was killed. Alexander's sister turned away from the images and wept as the photos were being shown.
Arias, a 34-year-old former waitress, was convicted of murder last year in the killing of Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home, Authorities said she slit his throat so deeply that she nearly decapitated him and left his body in his shower where friends found him after about five days.
Jurors couldn't agree on a sentence then. Prosecutors have one more chance with a new jury to secure the death penalty, If the jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the judge will then sentence Arias to spend the rest of her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens told the new jury that they had to accept the guilty verdict on the murder charge.
The start of the sentencing retrial was less of a spectacle than the initial case in early 2013, when onlookers from around the country traveled to Phoenix and lined up outside court for the trial that became a tabloid TV sensation. Still, some of the people who regularly attended the first trial were back in court Tuesday.
The tumultuous relationship of Arias and Alexander became a major part of the obsession with the case as intimate details of their time together were revealed in the courtroom.
The first trial was broadcast live, but Judge Stephens imposed restrictions on the sentencing retrial. Cameras are allowed at the retrial, but no footage can be broadcast until it's finished.
A prosecutor at the sentencing retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias showed jurors two photos Tuesday of her ex-boyfriend and victim Travis Alexander.
Attorneys for the state are asking a federal judge to throw out a challenge to the state's new “revenge porn” law.
Jurors in Phoenix will once again be asked to decide whether Jodi Arias should be executed for the gruesome murder of her former boyfriend.
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona prison teacher has blamed state officials over an attack in which she says she was stabbed and raped by a convicted sex offender she was left alone with in a penitentiary classroom.
Her attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday saying the Arizona Department of Corrections failed to provide adequate security and the prison's health care provider didn't properly evaluate the prisoner charged in the assault.
The January attack has raised questions about prison security after reports showed she was put into a room full of inmates with no guards nearby. Authorities say the 20-year-old blamed in the assault had lingered behind after others left the room, then repeatedly stabbed the victim with a pen before raping her.
Arizona's workplace safety agency launched an investigation of prison policy after The Associated Press reported the details in June. The review is ongoing, a Division of Occupational Safety and Health spokeswoman said.
Corrections Director Charles Ryan, who is named in the lawsuit, was not immediately available, but prison officials have said they cannot comment on the lawsuit.
Corrections spokesman Doug Nick has called the attack "a cowardly and despicable crime, for which the inmate is rightfully facing prosecution."
He says the safety of all staffers is the department's "paramount priority, and we have reached out to the victim to offer our full assistance and support."
The lawsuit filed in Pinal County Superior Court doesn't seek specific damages. In a precursor July legal claim, attorney Scott Zwillinger asked for $4 million and wrote that the state could lose $10 million if the case went to trial.
Nick has said previously that "the department vigorously disputes allegations made in the employee's claim against the state, and new allegations being made to the media."
The lawsuit says Corizon Health, the state prison system's health care provider, improperly assessed Harvey's mental health. The lawsuit said that led prison officials to classify him as a relatively low-risk offender, allowing him access to the classroom. A Corizon spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment Tuesday.
In an AP interview, the 34-year-old teacher said she mainly blames Ryan, who she says allowed lax training, staffing shortages and poor security at the Eyman prison in Florence, south of Phoenix. The AP does not identify those who say they are victims of sexual assault.
Jacob Harvey, 20, has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault in the case. His lawyer has declined comment on the case.
At the time of the attack, Harvey was being held in a unit that holds about 1,300 rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders.
He was in the first year of a 30-year sentence after being convicted of raping a Glendale woman in 2011. Prosecutors said Harvey, who was 17 at the time, knocked on a woman's door asked for a drink of water, then pushed his way in and repeatedly forced himself on the victim, whose 2-year-old child was in the apartment at the time.
The prison teacher also describes a violent attack and says the department left her vulnerable and unprepared for it.
"I remember trying to fight him off," she said. "The only thing I remembered from self-defense was to tuck my head so he would not choke me."
She said she also remembers getting stabbed, screaming and being unable to activate a panic button on her two-way radio.
She said she had received only four hours of self-defense training before being placed in classrooms, which guards did not regularly monitor, despite regulations calling for three checks each hour.
During the interview, she said radios were prone to battery problems and in short supply. If one wasn't available, she'd be pressured to hold class anyway, she said.
The teacher says she feels traumatized by the attack.
"There's times where I think I'm doing good," she said. "Then I just come crashing down. I haven't been sleeping well."
PHOENIX (AP) — Roughly a third of 300 potential jurors were dismissed Monday in the penalty retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias after telling a judge they had seen too much media coverage of her first trial to be impartial or had already made up their minds about her punishment.
Other jurors were let go due to work conflicts or language barriers, among other reasons, as jury selection began in the second attempt by prosecutors to secure a death sentence in the Arizona case that became a tabloid TV sensation.
Arias, 34, has acknowledged killing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home but claimed it was self-defense. He suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, had his throat slit and was shot in the head.
Prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage when Alexander wanted to end their affair.
Arias, a former waitress, was found guilty last year, and the murder conviction will stand as lawyers spar again over whether she should die for the crime.
Arias was previously found unable to pay for her own attorneys and the cost to taxpayers for her defense so far has topped $2.5 million, Maricopa County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick said. The cost will keep rising during the penalty phase retrial, which is expected to last into December.
Another 100 prospective jurors were set to be brought in Wednesday. No proceeding were set Tuesday in the case.
Arias glanced back at the media at one point on Monday and smiled just before jurors started arriving. The victim's sister and her husband also sat in the courtroom watching the proceedings.
Some of the prospective jurors who were dismissed said they had already seen so much media coverage of the first trial that they couldn't put it out of their minds and would not be able to make a decision based only on information presented at the penalty retrial.
The upcoming proceedings will not be televised live after the judge ruled that no video footage can be broadcast until after the verdict.
If the new jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the death penalty will be removed as an option and the judge will sentence Arias to spend her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.
Arias' five-month trial began in January 2013 and was broadcast live, providing endless cable TV and tabloid fodder, including a recorded phone sex call between Arias and the victim, nude photos, bloody crime-scene pictures and a defendant who described her life story in intimate detail over 18 days on the witness stand.
Alexander's family sat in the front row of the courtroom throughout the trial, often sobbing, looking away from horrific photographs, and wincing as Arias described the victim as an abusive boyfriend who wanted nothing but sex.
It was a far cry from the man Alexander presented himself to be publicly — a devout Mormon in search of his soul mate.
Trial watchers say the lack of live television coverage this time around will likely lead to less public interest in the case.
"It wasn't really until Jodi took the stand last time that it turned into a circus and built into a frenzy," said Phoenix criminal defense lawyer Dwane Cates.
Cates said the biggest problem prosecutors now face will be weeding out prospective jurors with an agenda, those "who want their 15 minutes of fame" and could potentially cause another mistrial.
About two dozen potential jurors who said they could not be impartial were dismissed Monday in the penalty retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias, as prosecutors again seek a death sentence in the Arizona case that became a tabloid TV sensation.
In this Jan. 9, 2013 file photo, shows Jodi Arias sits in court for her trial in Maricopa County Superior court in Phoenix. Arias, the 34-year-old former waitress admitted that she killed Travis Alexander in 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home but claimed it was self-defense. She was found guilty last year but jurors couldn't agree on a sentence. While Arias' murder conviction stands, prosecutors are putting on a second penalty phase with a new jury, under way Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 with jury selection in an effort to secure the death penalty. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
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