Sister: Travis was 'ripped' from us

NEED TO KNOW
  • Attorney: 'Arias will have the opportunity to talk to you in a different way, not about what happened but who she is'
  • Arias was found guilty Wednesday of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in a 'cruel manner'
Sister: Travis was 'ripped' from us

During his opening statement, defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told the jury Thursday that Jodi Arias will address the court.

During this phase of the trial the jury will have to decide if Arias lives or dies via lethal injection.

"'Arias will have the opportunity to talk to you in a different way, not about what happened but who she is," said Nurmi.

Arias will also discuss all of the mitigating factors that may spare her life at this stage of the trial, and she will also show the jurors her artwork.

Arias will apparently speak when proceedings continue next week.

HLN is live-blogging the Jodi Arias trial. Click here to read HLN's live blog of the moment Arias was found guilty of cruelty. Click here to read about the moment Arias was convicted of first-degree murder. Read below for minute-by-minute updates from the trial (Best read from the bottom up):

6:29 p.m. ET: Court has recessed until Monday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

6:06 p.m. ET: HLN's producer at the courthouse says everyone has been asked to leave the courtroom except family members. The doors to the courtroom are locked.

5:40 p.m. ET: The bailiff has announced that court will resume in 30 minutes.

4:57 p.m. ET: The attorneys are in the judge's chambers.

3:22 p.m. ET: Samantha has completed her victim impact statement. Judge Stephens has recessed court until 5:00 p.m. ET.

3:21 p.m. ET:

3:19 p.m. ET: "We will miss his contagious laughter," said Samantha Alexander. "His jokes. His funny dances."

"His huge smile."

3:17 p.m. ET: Arias is crying as Samantha gives her victim impact statement.

3:14 p.m. ET: This is the last photo Samantha and Travis took together before he died.

3:12 p.m. ET: "If he were able to walk into this room you would immediately feel his warmth," said Samantha Alexander.

3:10 p.m. ET: "Travis was our strength," said Samantha Alexander. "It can never be replaced."

3:08 p.m. ET: Samantha said there were eight siblings in the family, and they have been tortured by their loss.

3:05 p.m. ET: Alexander has finished his statement. Samantha Alexander is now going to give her victim impact statement. She is already crying.

3:04 p.m. ET: Alexander is reading one of Travis' journal entries about how 2008 was going to be best year of his life.

3:02 p.m. ET:

3:01 p.m. ET: Arias is paying close attention to Alexander's victim statement.

2:58 p.m. ET: Alexander says he has nightmares of someone coming after him a knife. He doesn't want to see his brother's killer anymore, and he is tired of his name being dragged through the mud.

2:57 p.m. ET: Alexander is talking about the last time he saw his brother alive. Arias is crying as Alexander gives his statement.

2:54 p.m. ET: Steven Alexander, Travis' brother, is telling the story of how he found Alexander was killed. He is choking back tears.

"I remember walking out back door screaming," said Alexander.

"I thought my brother was bulletproof," said Alexander.

2:48 p.m. ET: The attorneys have gone into the judge's chambers.

2:47 p.m. ET: HLN's Beth Karas says two of Alexander's siblings will likely give impact statements to the jurors.

2:36 p.m. ET: Martinez has completed his opening argument, and judge Stephens has recessed court for five minutes.

2:35 p.m. ET: Martinez reminded the jury that Arias may have lied to them when was on the witness stand.

2:33 p.m. ET: Martinez said all the things Nurmi just told them consider including her age, criminal history and artwork have nothing to do with the murder that happened on June 4, 2008.

2:31 p.m. ET:

2:30 p.m. ET: Martinez tried to make a point there is no connection between Arias' age and the fact she stuck a knife in Alexander. Nurmi objected, and now the attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

2:27 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

2:26 p.m. ET: Nurmi has finished his opening statement. Now prosecutor Juan Martinez is giving his opening statement.

2:24 p.m. ET: Nurmi said Arias will show the jury her artwork, and talk about all of the mitigating factors they can consider.

2:22 p.m. ET: The jury will be able to consider multiple factors about Arias life when deciding whether she lives or dies. Nurmi is displaying this list of factors to jury now.

2:19 p.m. ET: Nurmi keeps refering back to the term "moral assessment."

2:17 p.m. ET: "Miss Arias will have the opportunity to talk you in a different way, not about what happened but who she is," said Nurmi.

2:15 p.m. ET: Nurmi told each juror they will have to make their, "own moral assessment of what sentence is correct."

2:12 p.m. ET: Nurmi is explaining how the jury now has to decide between life and death, and how the judge must follow their verdict.

2:11 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

2:10 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi is about to begin his opening statement.

2:09 p.m. ET:

2:05 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens is now explaining mitigating factors to the jurors. Mitigating factors include:

  • Arias’ capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct or to conform her conduct to the requirements of law was significantly impaired, but not so impaired as to constitute a defense to prosecution;
  • Arias was under unusual and substantial duress, although not such as to constitute a defense to prosecution;
  • Arias was legally accountable for the conduct of another, but her participation was relatively minor, although not so minor as to constitute a defense to prosecution;
  • Arias could not reasonably have foreseen that her conduct in the course of the commission of the offense for which Arias was convicted would cause, or would create a grave risk of causing, death to another person; or
  • Arias’ age

2:02 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens told the jurors that they cannot be swayed by bias, sympathy or emotion.

1:59 p.m. ET: Arias seems to be paying close attention as the judge instructs the jury. She also seems to be displaying a new hairstyle.

1:55 p.m. ET: Judge Sherry Stephens is on the bench, and she is handing out some copies of instructions to the jurors. Stephens is now explaining the instructions. She said they will have to decide whether Arias will be sentenced to life in prison or death.

1:41 p.m. ET: There is a sealed hearing going on right now behind closed doors. It is not clear what the issue is before the court. HLN's producer in the courthouse says jurors have been arriving in drips and drabs, and Alexander's family members were just let into the courtroom.

1:39 p.m. ET:

It has come to this: The final stage of the Jodi Arias trial begins Thursday, and Arias' life is on the line.

Read more: The Arias jurors say it was murder

Arias was found guilty Wednesday of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in a "cruel manner," and now the trial moves on to the penalty phase, during which the jurors will have to decide if she lives or dies via lethal injection.

Read more: HLN's live blog of Wednesday's proceedings

This could be the most emotional stage of the trial, because Alexander's family is expected to make victim impact statements Thursday, detailing the tragedy of having a beloved family member who's brutally murdered.

During this stage of the trial, Arias may also make a statement begging for her life to be spared.

This penalty phase will proceed similarly to Wednesday's aggravation phase. It will be like a miniature trial, with some slight differences.

For example, the defense will go first in this phase when it comes to opening statements, and the defense -- rather than the prosecution -- will also get the last word with a rebuttal closing argument.

The burden also shifts to the defense, who must prove by a preponderance of the evidence -- meaning it’s more likely than not -- that there is at least one sufficiently substantial mitigating factor that calls for leniency.

The statutory mitigating factors in Arizona include the following:

  • Arias’ capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct or to conform her conduct to the requirements of law was significantly impaired, but not so impaired as to constitute a defense to prosecution;
  • Arias was under unusual and substantial duress, although not such as to constitute a defense to prosecution;
  • Arias was legally accountable for the conduct of another, but her participation was relatively minor, although not so minor as to constitute a defense to prosecution;
  • Arias could not reasonably have foreseen that her conduct in the course of the commission of the offense for which Arias was convicted would cause, or would create a grave risk of causing, death to another person; or
  • Arias’ age

Read more: Judge denies defense bid to quit Arias case

After closing arguments of the sentencing phase, the jury then deliberates for a third time to determine whether Arias should be sentenced to life or death. Their decision must be unanimous. In the case of a deadlock, a mistrial would be granted and a new jury would be chosen for this phase only.

Deciding whether a defendant will live or die can obviously be a difficult decision for jurors to make.

During jury selection, all potential jurors were asked whether they could put someone to death if the law and evidence warranted it. The potential jurors who said they could not morally sentence someone to death were removed from the panel. This happens in all death penalty cases.

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