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Jodi Arias' defense attorneys want another crack at convincing the jury that their client was in an abusive relationship and was forced to kill her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in self-defense.
Arias' attorneys filed a motion with the court Monday asking for permission to call an additional witness after prosecutor Juan Martinez finishes his rebuttal case.
Last week, Martinez began his rebuttal case by calling psychologist Janeen DeMarte to the stand. DeMarte testified she did not believe the defense's argument that Alexander abused Arias. She also disagreed with the defense's assertion that Arias can't remember the details of the killing because she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). DeMarte offered her own diagnosis of the defendant, saying that Arias suffers from a borderline personality disorder.
The defense team wants to call psychologist Robert Geffner to the stand to refute DeMarte's testimony. The attorneys claim Martinez failed to present any evidence that Arias has a personality disorder in its case-in-chief, and therefore they should be allowed to rebut the new evidence introduced during his rebuttal case.
"If a court allows new evidence to be introduced in State's rebuttal, a defendant should be allowed to introduce contradictory evidence in surrebuttal," wrote defense attorney Jennifer Willmott in Monday's filing.
HLN legal experts say there is a good chance the defense will be allowed to call Geffner to the stand, because this is a death penalty case. If a defendant's life is on the line, judges will usually give defense attorneys a chance to rebut new evidence out of an abundance of caution.
The defense also requested the court to add an instruction to the jurors' charging document for them to follow during deliberations. The proposed instruction would explain manslaughter by sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
In Arizona, if someone intentionally or knowingly kills a person without premeditation, the defendant could be charged with the crime of second-degree murder. However, if the jury believes the victim attacked the defendant, and if it was enough to incite the defendant's actions, then the intentional killing would fall under the lesser crime of manslaughter.
Of course, if the jury believes Arias self-defense claim they could find her not guilty as well.
If Arias is convicted of manslaughter, Judge Sherry Stephens will sentence her to no less than seven years and no more than 21 years in prison.
If Arias is sentenced to jail time, she will get credit for the 4 1/2 years she has been incarcerated awaiting trial.
The trial will resume Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. ET, and Martinez is expected to call either two of Alexander's former co-workers or a Wal-Mart employee to the stand.