The sentencing trial for Jodi Arias opened yesterday in a dramatic way. Prosecutor Juan Martinez showed jurors a gruesome photo of Travis Alexander’s slit throat while sarcastically stating it shows just how much Arias loved him.
Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder in May 2013 in connection with the 2008 brutal killing of her then-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Although Arias still claims she acted in self-defense, the jury in her first trial did not agree. After looking at photos and hearing evidence of Travis being stabbed 29 times, shot, and his throat slit almost to the point of decapitation, Jodi was found guilty.
While the jurors agreed that Jodi was guilty of the horrific crime against Travis, they could not agree on her sentencing. Since last year, Travis’ family members and friends have been waiting for an ending to this very, publicized trial. Unlike the first trial, the judge would not allow cameras in the courtroom but the drama still plays out through social media from courtroom observers.
The state of Arizona is seeking the death penalty while the defense team is trying to spare Jodi’s life. In last year’s jury vote, eight members voted in favor of the death penalty while four were against it. With this new trial, the only thing jurors will have to decide is whether Jodi lives or dies, having already been convicted.
According to Martinez, the only just punishment for Jodi is death while her lead defense lawyer, Kirk Nurmi, argues that his 34-year-old client is mentally ill and as such, should not be put to death. In a statement from Nurmi, Jodi has a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as Bipolar and Border Personality Disorder.
The majority of the state-appointed defense lawyer’s opening statement focused on warning the jury panel of 12 women and six men that they would see explicit photos throughout the sentencing phase but to remember that Jodi was emotionally abused by Travis, making her the victim, not him. In his closing statement, Nurmi told the jurors they would be responsiblefor writing the final chapter of this story.
On the other side of the table, Martinez plans to unravel all of Jodi’s lies, showing that rather than being mentally ill, she is controlling and manipulative, something witnessed by millions of people with her pre and post television interviews, as well as her eight days on the stand during the first trial. Experts believe it could take until sometime late December before a decision comes down.