Arias judge denies defense motion for mistrial

NEED TO KNOW
  • Jodi Arias is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in Arizona
  • Arias says she killed Alexander in self-defense
The judge in the Jodi Arias trial denied the defense's motion for a mistrial.

Arias' defense strategy: Blame the victim?

Jodi Arias admitted she killed her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, but she claims it was in self-defense.

Arias tried to bring her former lover 'closer to God'

Arias tried to bring her former lover 'closer to God'

Judge Sherry Stephens says Jodi Arias’ trial isn't getting thrown out -- and the felony murder charge against her isn’t going away either.

Stephens denied the defense’s second motion for a mistrial, along with a motion to throw out the felony murder charge.

The defense moved for a mistrial, based on prosecutorial misconduct, claiming Juan Martinez failed to turn over text messages from the cell phone of Arias' murdered ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

Read more: Jodi Arias trial coverage

Stephens handed down her order January 17, but it was just released to the public on Thursday. She justified her ruling by pointing out that mistrials should only be granted in extreme circumstances, and this was not one of those instances.

The defense argued that felony murder was not present in the case, but the judge disagrees. Felony murder happens when a criminal does not have the specific intent to kill someone, but ends up killing someone during the commission of another crime. For example, if someone intends to rob a bank without hurting anyone, but someone is accidentally killed during the robbery, the criminal could be convicted of felony murder. Stephens wrote in her order that it is possible Arias may have intended to assault Alexander and accidentally killed him, thus justifying the felony murder charge.

Ultimately, Stephens’ ruling may make it easier for the jury to convict Arias of first-degree murder. The jury can reach a verdict of first-degree murder two different ways: They can either find that Arias planned to kill Alexander or that she only intended to hurt him and accidentally killed him.

Arias has admitted killing Alexander, but claims it was in self-defense.

On Monday, attorneys will be in court for an evidentiary hearing. See it live on In Session on truTV.  Arias’ defense begins its case on Tuesday.

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