May 15, 2013

Arias back in court as jury ponders death option

Brian Skoloff / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Jodi Arias reacts at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on May 8, 2013, after she was found of guilty of first-degree murder in the gruesome killing of her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

AP

"Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place," a tearful Arias said in the interview. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."

Despite Arias' comments that she would rather die than be in prison for life, she cannot choose the death penalty. It is up to the jury to recommend a sentence.

Officials with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday the agency would not grant anymore media interviews with Arias after receiving a court order prohibiting authorities from facilitating the requests. The order came shortly after a closed door meeting with the judge and attorneys in the case.

If jurors on Wednesday find Arias' crime deserves consideration of the death penalty, the trial will move into yet another — and final — phase, during which prosecutors will call witnesses, including members of Alexander's family, aimed at convincing the panel she should face the ultimate punishment. Arias' attorneys, meanwhile, will also call witnesses, likely members of her family, in an attempt to gain sympathy from jurors to spare her life.

"This case is not over. There's a lot left and without question, victory still awaits the defense if they can save her life and keep her off death row," Laboy said. "It was such a difficult set of facts and circumstances for her defense to overcome, from her multiple lies to the crime scene to the physical evidence ... If despite all of those things, they can save her life, they've still won."

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