By using this site, you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Close X

Nancy Grace

"Nancy Grace" is television's only justice themed/interview/debate show for those interested in the breaking news of the day.

The woman Jodi Arias' prosecutor put on death row

NEED TO KNOW
  • Maricopa County Attorney Juan Martinez is currently trying Jodi Arias for the 2008 murder of Travis Alexander
  • If convicted, Jodi Arias faces a possible death sentence
  • In 2004, Martinez successfully prosecuted Wendi Andriano for the murder of her husband; she was sentenced to death
  • Watch “HLN After Dark: The Jodi Arias Trial” at 10pm on HLN
Wendi Andriano was sentenced to death for the murder of her terminally ill husband.

Arias trial: Grade the prosecution

Arias trial: Grade the prosecution

Video: Jodi Arias breaks down on the stand!

Jodi Arias cries on the stand

Is the prosecutor being too aggressive?

Is the prosecutor being too aggressive?

Will it be life in prison or death for Jodi Arias? On Monday, she'll be back in court and one step closer to finding out. Stay with HLN for complete coverage of her hearing.

Known for his aggressive approach to prosecuting cases, Maricopa County Attorney Juan Martinez faced some criticism for his intense cross-examination of murder defendant Jodi Arias. However, Martinez’s tough style has proven to be successful, as he has already prosecuted one of the two women currently on Arizona’s death row.

PHOTOS: The evidence against Jodi Arias

Back in 2004, Wendi Andriano was found guilty of the 2000 murder of her terminally ill husband, 33-year-old Joseph Andriano. During her trial, Martinez characterized Andriano as a manipulative, cheating wife who killed her cancer-stricken husband in an “especially cruel” way, according to the East Valley Tribune. On the contrary, Andriano’s defense attorneys painted her as a meek and battered wife desperate for affection, the Tribune reported.

Two years before he was killed, Joseph Andriano was diagnosed with metastatic adenoid cystic carcinoma. At that time, the cancer had spread to his lungs and his condition was deemed terminal. He had no choice but to stop working.  Resentful of her responsibilities as a wife and mother of two young children, Martinez argued Andriano hatched a scheme to kill her husband and profit from his death, according to court documents.

In the early morning hours of October 8, 2000, Andriano called 911 to report that her husband was having a heart attack at their Ahwatukee Foothills, Arizona home. However, when paramedics arrived, Andriano turned them away, screaming at them to leave. Hours later, Andriano called 911 again to report that she had stabbed and beaten her husband in self-defense, according to court documents. Responding paramedics entered the couple’s apartment and found Joseph Andriano lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

A medical examiner determined Joseph Andriano was struck 23 times in the back of the head with a bar stool, court documents state. Defensive wounds on his hands and wrists indicated that he was conscious for at least part of the attack. He also sustained a slit to his throat, and trace amounts of the pesticide sodium azide were found in his blood and gastric contents.

Based on the blood spatter and other evidence, a Phoenix police detective believed that Joseph Andriano was lying down when he was being struck with the bar stool, and he did not get up during the attack, court documents state. Furthermore, it was determined he was too weak from the poisoning and chemotherapy to defend himself.

Four years after the killing, Wendi Andriano’s trial began on August 23, 2004. Andriano took the witness stand in her own defense, testifying about the day of the killing and the events that she claimed forced her to take her husband’s life in order to save her own.

Andriano testified that on the day she killed her husband, he voluntarily ingested sodium azide and stabbed himself in the neck after learning she had a one-night stand with another man. Andriano said she beat her enraged husband repeatedly with a bar stool in the midst of a violent struggle between the two.

While prosecutor Martinez presented evidence suggesting Andriano masterminded the scheme behind her husband’s death, Andriano testified that her husband was the one that devised a plan to end his own life. Andriano claimed that she purchased the sodium azide under a false name and tried to purchase extra life insurance at the insistence of her husband.

However, when Martinez grilled Andriano, asking her to explain how the sodium azide got inside a pot of soup and bowls found in her apartment following her husband’s death, she could not.

“You put that in the food didn’t you?” Martinez asked Andriano her trial, according to the East Valley Tribune.

“No sir,” Andriano said.

"It was in the soup, though, wasn’t it?" Martinez asked.

“That’s what the tests say," Andriano replied.

On November 18, 2004, a jury found Andriano guilty of one count of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to death by lethal injection on December 22, 2004.

Jodi Arias, who was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her ex-boyfriend, also took the stand in her own defense and submitted to days of cross-examination by Juan Martinez. Arias claimed she stabbed Travis Alexander 29 times, shot him in the face and slit his throat from ear to ear in self-defense.

PHOTOS: Arias hysterical on cross-exam

After Arias' conviction, Martinez fought hard to convince the jury that Arias deserved to face the same sentence he obtained for Wendi Andriano. The jury ultimately couldn't decide between life and death for Arias and came back hung. Martinez plans to try again for the death penalty in a new sentencing phase. A hearing to discuss that phase is set for Monday. HLN will bring you complete coverage.

HLN reached out to Andriano’s attorneys for a comment, but calls were not returned.

Join the conversation...

HLNtv.com welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.
Exclusive: HLN's 'Jodi Juries' weigh in
Jodi Arias | See all 1189 items Exclusive: HLN's 'Jodi Juries' weigh in

Advertisement