Jodi Arias to Represent Herself During Penalty Phase of Murder Trial
Written by Phyllis Smith
Last updated on August 05, 2014 @ 11:45AM
Created on August 05, 2014 @ 11:25AM
A judge ruled Monday that Jodi Arias can represent herself in the upcoming penalty phase of her murder trial. This's when jurors will decide whether she's put to death for killing her ex-boyfriend.
The 34-year-old was convicted of first-degree murder six years ago for killing Travis Alexander, but jurors couldn't reach a decision on sentencing. Under Arizona law, while Arias' murder conviction stands, prosecutors have the option of a second penalty phase with a new jury to reach a decision about whether or not she'll get capital punishment.
Arias, who's clashed with her defense lawyers and tried to fire them before, asked Judge Sherry Stephens to let her serve as her own lawyer during the second penalty phase set for early September. Stephens granted the request, but voiced hesitation.
"I do not believe it is in your best interest ... I strongly urge you to reconsider," Stephens told Arias before granting the motion.
Other experts said this may actually work in her favor.
"If she can get just one juror to bond with her on some level, even if they hate her, they're getting to know her, and it's harder to kill someone you know," said San Francisco-based defense attorney Daniel Horowitz.
Arias is now responsible for arguing a death penalty case just four weeks from now despite having no legal experience and no college degree or high school diploma. Arias got her GED in jail.
According to reports, her defense lawyers will remain on as advisory council. They declined to comment on the latest developments. Prosecutors also declined comment.