Jodi Arias’ case gained national attention and sparked a media frenzy. Following a media blackout imposed by Judge Sherry Stephens, Arias has vanished from the public spotlight. Although several hearings have taken place in recent months, they have been shrouded in secrecy.
Arias is accused of the June 4, 2008 murder of former boyfriend Travis Alexander. The 30-year-old salesman was found in his home with a bullet in his head, a slashed throat, and multiple stab wounds. His death was eventually ruled a homicide.
During their investigation, authorities recovered a camera from Alexander’s home. On the camera were numerous photos that were apparently taken before and after Alexander was killed. Detectives also found a bloody hand print at the scene. The print contained DNA that matched the victim and his former girlfriend, Jodi Arias.
Arias was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first degree murder. CBS News reports that she was arrested on July 15, 2008 in California. Two months later she was extradited to Arizona to stand trial.
Although Arias plead not guilty, she admitted that she was responsible for Alexander’s death. She said she was a victim of domestic violence and was forced to kill her former boyfriend in self-defense.
As the trial was open to the media, it became a public spectacle. Most notable was Arias’ testimony, which included the lurid details of her sex life with Alexander. She claimed that she was forced to submit to the man’s unconventional sexual interests, which she found uncomfortable. She also claims Alexander was emotionally and physically abusive.
Despite Arias’ claims of self-defense, she was found guilty of first-degree murder. As the jury found the circumstances were aggravated, Arias was determined to be eligible for the death penalty under Arizona law.
As Arias’ defense team prepares for a second sentencing phase, the media has been excluded from all hearings. As reported by USA Today, attorney David Bodney said the judge is depriving the public of the “constitutional right to attend proceedings.” He said the judge is attempting to prevent the media circus that happened during the initial trial. However, he said the media black out is a “severe overcorrection.”
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery disagrees. He said: “When push comes to shove, a defendant’s right to a fair trial is probably going to trump what otherwise is considered the public’s right to attend trial.”
Jodi Arias’ initial sentencing resulted in a hung jury. A new date for the sentencing phase has not been set.
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