On May 20, 2013, a witness was expected to testify in an Arizona courtroom on behalf of convicted murderer Jodi Arias in an attempt to help her avoid the death penalty. Instead, the witness refused to take the stand in the penalty phase of her trial because of death threats, according to Fox News.
Arias’ attorney, Kirk Nurmi, argued to Judge Sherry Stephens that his client did not receive a fair trial due to the exploits of prosecutor Juan Martinez that he claimed caused public bias. Nurmi added that there were other defense witnesses that received death threats as well.
View slideshow: Photos of Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander, the Former Boyfriend She Admits Killing, Saying She Was Forced to Do So
Fox notes that an ex-boyfriend of Arias’ was expected to testify, as well as one of her friends from California.
The judge denied a mistrial, after which Nurmi and defense attorney Jennifer Willmott asked to withdraw from the case, which the court also rejected. According to Fox, this was the second time in the past week Arias’ defense attorneys asked to be relieved of service.
The proceedings are slated to continue at 12:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday with Arias speaking to the jury. What she has to say has been highly anticipated since she told a local reporter after her murder conviction that she would rather be put to death than spend her life behind bars.
Arias was found guilty of premeditating the 2008 murder of her former lover, Travis Alexander, which took place, according to images found at the scene, after the two had spent the day having sex and taking nude photos of one another. Alexander died after Arias stabbed him 27 times, slit his throat from ear-to-ear, and shot him in the head.
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