A judge has approved Jodi Arias request to represent herself in Travis Alexander murder trial.
Jodi Arias, 34, admitted killing Travis Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home in 2008 but said it was self-defense.
Prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage when Travis Alexander wanted to end their affair.
Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder last year but jurors couldn’t reach a decision on sentencing. Under Arizona law, while Jodi Arias’ murder conviction stands, prosecutors have the option of putting on a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to secure the death penalty.
Jodi Arias will have the task of arguing a death penalty case just four weeks from now despite having no legal experience and no college degree or high school diploma. She got her GED in jail.
Travis Alexander’s family, who lauded Jodi Arias’ conviction after spending every day of the trial sitting in the front row of the gallery, often sobbing and looking away from horrific crime scene photographs, will now have to see Arias argue her own case in an attempt to save her life.
Her defense lawyers will remain on as advisory council.
Jodi Arias has long clashed with her defense attorneys and tried to fire them previously. The feud only intensified after she gave a series of media interviews following her May 2013 conviction. Her lawyers also have tried to withdraw several times, but the judge rebuffed their requests.
The five-month trial that began in January 2013 was broadcast live and provided seemingly endless amounts of cable TV and tabloid fodder.
Jodi Arias told jurors of an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, relationship with Travis Alexander and her contention that he had grown physically violent.
This time around the trial will not be broadcast live after the judge ruled footage may not be used until after a verdict.
If the new jury fails to reach a unanimous decision during the second penalty phase set for September 8, the death penalty will be removed from consideration. The judge would then sentence Jodi Arias to spend her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.
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