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Jodi Arias files motion to avoid death penalty

NEED TO KNOW
  • Arias attorneys filed a motion last week in an attempt to save their client from the death penalty
  • Arias was convicted of first-degree murder for killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander
Jodi Arias files motion to avoid death penalty

5,400 questions: The Arias trial by the numbers

Jodi Arias trial by the numbers

Convicted murderer Jodi Arias does not want to die via lethal injection, and she is trying to avoid the death penalty through some legal maneuvering.

Arias was convicted on May 8 of first-degree murder for brutally killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. He was stabbed multiple times, shot in the head and his throat was slit from ear to ear.

Arias' attorneys filed a motion Friday, asking the judge to strike the jury’s determination that she killed Alexander in an “especially cruel” manner.

If the judge grants the motion, then the death penalty would be off the table.
 
Arias attorneys argue that “especially cruel” is vague and isn't defined by the law, so it’s “legally meaningless.” They also say that the courts invented the definition, and the courts should defer to the Arizona state legislature in this matter.
 
The defense also says juries don’t have “any experience considering murders of varying degree of heinousness, cruelty or depravity…” and therefore, can’t make an informed decision about whether Arias should live or die based on that criterion.

Arias is slated to be retried, but the new trial will only apply to the penalty phase of the proceedings. Arias' first-degree murder conviction still stands, and so does the jurors' finding that Arias murdered Alexander in a "cruel manner."

When the new penalty phase begins, a new jury will be selected, and they will only decide whether Arias will be sentenced to death via lethal injection or life in prison.

If the second jury were to say that Arias can live out the remainder of her days behind bars, the judge would decide whether the convicted murderer will get life without parole or life with the eligibility of parole after 25 years.

Arias’ next court hearing is set for July 18 at 1 p.m. ET.

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