Jodi Arias Faces Second Chance to Avoid Death Penalty Today

PHOTO: Jodi Arias looks at her family after being found guilty of first-degree murder in the gruesome killing her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander, May 8, 2013, in Phoenix.
Share
Copy

The same jurors that who convicted Jodi Arias of first degree murder for killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander will begin hearing testimony whether the death penalty should be an option for sentencing.

The prosecutor will have to prove one aggravating factor, convincing the jury that Alexander's murder was cruel, heinous, or depraved, warranting the death penalty. The aggravator phase is expected to take a day and a verdict could come as early as today.

Arias, 32, was moved Monday back to the Phoenix women's jail where she's spent much of the last five years since she murdered Alexander in June 2008. Arias was on suicide watch in the psychiatric ward of a different jail for five days last week after she told a local TV station she rather die than spend the rest of her life behind bars.

"I said years ago that I'd rather get death than life and that's still is true today," Arias said last Wednesday, just minutes after her conviction.

RELATED: Jodi Arias Found Guilty of First Degree Murder, Would Rather 'Get Death Than Life'

The jury will return to the same courtroom in Maricopa County at 1 p.m. ET where prosecutor Juan Martinez is expected to call Dr. Kevin Horn, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Alexander's body. Alexander, a Mormon businessman, was stabbed 27 times, his throat was slit and he suffered a gunshot wound to the face.

Horn took the witness stand in January and said Arias stabbed Alexander at least nine times in his upper back and one time in his chest so deeply that she punctured a vein going into his heart. While he was being stabbed, Alexander likely put up his hands to block the blows or grab the knife, resulting in cuts on the front and backs of his hands and arms, according to Horn.

"If you have injuries to the backs of the forearms or to the palms or backs of hands, it's consistent with someone trying either to grab the knife or fend off wounds, fend off injury," Horn said on Jan. 8.

If the jury determines there was no aggravating factor involved in Alexander's murder, the death penalty will be off the table and the judge will sentence Arias in 30 to 60 days. Arias could spend the rest of her life in prison or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

RELATED: 9 Most Shocking Moments of the Jodi Arias Trial

If the jury is convinced of aggravating factors, the case will move into its final penalty phase.

After both sides give opening statements, Alexander's family members will have the opportunity to speak to the jury about the impact the crime has had on their lives. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense will be allowed to question the victim's survivors.

Both sides will then present witnesses to argue the existence of mitigating factors before Arias is allowed to make a statement to the jury and her family will also address the court to spare her life.

"The defense is going to try and show that the manner in which that she caused Travis Alexander's death was not particularly cruel. He may well have died quickly so he didn't suffer any incredible mental anguish, but I think that's going to be an incredibly hard sell," Anna Sigga Nicolazzi, a New York prosecutor who has been following the Arias case, told ABC News.

The jurors will ultimately decide whether Arias will be executed or not.

ABC News' Colleen Curry and Shana Druckerman contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Ebola patients Nina Pham, left, Dr. Craig Spencer, center, and Amber Vinson are seen in undated file photos.
Courtesy Pham Family | LinkedIn | Obtained by ABC
PHOTO: Television personalities Mama June and Honey Boo Boo are seen in this, June 11, 2014, file photo.
Douglas Gorenstein/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
PHOTO: Overall winner for the Wildlife Photography of the Year 2014, The last great picture by Michael Nick Nichols.
Michael Nick Nichols/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth II sends her first Tweet during a visit to the Science Museum on Oct. 24, 2014 in London, England.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images