Jodi Arias Trial Update: Judge Scrutinizes Jury, Psychologist Cross-Examined again

( [email protected] ) Feb 09, 2015 08:24 PM EST
The penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial could go on longer than the original trial itself. However, it may even be longer thanks to a surprise announcement by Judge Sherry Stevens.
Jodi Arias is seen at the Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Monday, December 15, 2014, during the sentencing phase retrial of Arias. (Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic)

The penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial could go on longer than the original trial itself. However, it may even be longer thanks to a surprise announcement by Judge Sherry Stevens.

According to Steve Krafft of Fox 10 News, Stevens announced at trial's end on Monday afternoon that she will question each member of the jury privately. She did not elaborate on the reasoning behind her decision, but Krafft contended that she might possibly be "looking into some kind of misconduct" within the jury.

"Jodi Arias [is] in court today," Krafft wrote on Twitter. "Jurors questioned privately by judge, [but] reason [is] unclear so far."

Aside from that announcement, psychologist and key prosecution witness Janeen DeMarte faced questions on the stand.

"Dr. Janeen DeMarte testified that Arias had a mental disorder, borderline personality disorder, but not a mental illness, and she knows the difference between right and wrong," Krafft wrote.

According to Krafft, DeMarte painted a picture of Arias as a stalker who ended up killing Travis Alexander. Like any other con, she argued, Arias tried to get away with the crime.

Steve Stout and Jason Berry of CBS 5 AZ reported that the jurors received an in-depth look into "the twisted and manipulative mind" of Arias, who was already convicted of the murder of 30-year-old Alexander. That's because DeMarte read through emails and texts sent between Arias and her former boyfriend.

"I haven't heard back from you," one email read in court.

DeMarte then turned her focus on one of Arias' journal entries. According to Stout and Berry, it was written after the murder took place.

"People are dropping my name about possibly having something to do with Travis' death....I don't understand it," Arias wrote in her journal. "I have been praying for his family and the detectives...This is difficult to write about.....I take comfort in knowing the truth will come out soon."

Jen Wood of Jen's Trial Diaries told CBS 5 AZ that Arias' journal entry was "extremely creepy." She argued that the writing also revealed something important too.

"It shows that Jodi Arias was having these conversations with Travis Alexander after she had murdered him, even going so far as saying, 'it's too bad the person that did it, hasn't been found yet,'" Wood said.

Krafft reported that defense attorney Kirk Nurmi tried to poke holes at DeMarte's credibility through a cross-examination, suggesting that she lacked the expertise to properly assess Arias.

"When did you become this guru of psychological certitude?" Nurmi asked to DeMarte.

Stout and Berry noted that Nurmi started yelling at DeMarte. Legal expert Beth Karas thought it was a "dangerous" strategy Nurmi used in cross-examining the psychologist.

"It can be dangerous to attack too much," Karas said. "Especially if the jurors think, 'why are you being so hard on her? She's not being evasive.'"

Krafft then reported that jurors asked questions about the trial, which were read by the judge.

"They asked how much she knew about treating domestic violence and sexual abuse, and why her tests of Arias are more accurate than the tests done by psychologists hired by the Arias defense team," Krafft wrote.

The sentencing retrial of Arias will resume on Wednesday.

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