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Jodi Arias Trial Update 2015: Defense Rests Case In Penalty Phase

( [email protected] ) Jan 28, 2015 06:01 PM EST
Defense attorneys representing Jodi Arias rested their case on Monday, electing not to put her in the witness stand in the penalty phase of her retrial.
Jodi Arias appears for her trial in Maricopa County Superior court in Phoenix. (AP)

Defense attorneys representing Jodi Arias rested their case on Monday, electing not to put her in the witness stand in the penalty phase of her retrial.

Arias, 34, was convicted in May 2013 of first-degree murder for the gruesome 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, which received national attention. However, Reuters reported that although she faced the death penalty, the jury deadlocked on her sentence back then.

"We're talking about humanizing her, making her a person for the jury," legal expert Dwane Cates said of the defense's decision not to put Arias on the stand. "Jurors have a hard time putting female defendants to death to begin with, and the more she becomes a person, the harder it will be for them to vote for the death penalty."

According to Steve Stout of AZfamily.com, Arias testified in secret without the media or public present a few months ago. However, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that she cannot do that.

"Arias told Judge Sherry Stevens that since she can no longer testify without the public present, she would rather stay silent until the end of the trial when she can address the jury in her own way without any lawyer questions," Stout wrote.

Michael Kiefer of The Arizona Republic explained that defendants in criminal cases do not have to testify under Arizona law. In addition, his newspaper was one of the media outlets that successfully petitioned the Arizona Court of Appeals to end the secret testimony.

Steve Krafft of Fox 10 News reported that the prosecution will not strike the secret testimony she gave last fall over a two-day period. Prosecutor Juan Martinez called Deanna Reid, one of Alexander's ex-girlfriends, to the stand Tuesday.

"She testified that Alexander never physically abused her, disputing a defense witness statement that Alexander had hit Reid," Stout wrote.

Before the judge ended court on Tuesday, Krafft reported that Arias defense attorney Jennifer Wilmott cross-examined Reid based on her earlier statements in a transcript.

"Reid refused to answer her questions unless she could hear an audio recording of what she'd told attorneys earlier during preparations for the trial," Krafft wrote.

The prosecutor earlier turned his fury on defense witness and psychologist Robert Geffner on Monday in the hopes of discrediting him.

"Martinez and Geffner, a psychologist, got into a heated back-and-forth argument about domestic violence and the difference between a 'shove' and a 'push,'" Stout wrote.

According to The Arizona Republic, Geffener explained to the jury over a period of five days of the retrial through a series of text messages that Alexander sent to as many as 12 women around the same time he was seeing Arias. He also gave credence to Arias' claims that Alexander physically abused her by testifying about an affidavit from an unidentified witness who claimed he saw it in action when Alexander forcibly restrained a former girlfriend.

Reuters reported that if the jury is unable to decide on a penalty this time, the judge will sentence Arias to life in prison or life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

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