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Known for his aggressive approach to prosecuting cases, Maricopa County Attorney Juan Martinez has 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 three women currently on Arizona’s death row.
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, currently on trial for the 2008 alleged murder of her ex-boyfriend, has also taken the stand in her own defense and has submitted to days of cross-examination by Juan Martinez. Arias claims 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
With the end of Arias’ trial approaching, Martinez is fighting to prove Arias is guilty of the premeditated murder of her ex-boyfriend. If she is convicted of first-degree murder, he will then be responsible for convincing the jury that Arias should face the same sentence he obtained for Wendi Andriano.
HLN reached out to Andriano’s attorneys for a comment, but calls were not returned.
Tonight at 8 p.m. ET Nancy Grace Investigates Jodi Arias: The Defense’s Case