Judge Sherry Stephens has granted Jodi Arias' request to have her penalty phase retrial pushed back, a spokeswoman for the Superior Court of Arizona said Wednesday.
Jury selection, originally planned for September 8, is now scheduled to begin September 29. The next hearing in the case will be a pretrial conference on September 4, according to Karen Arra, the court's director of media relations.
Arias filed the motion to continue last week, in a move that was one of her first since being granted the right to act as her own attorney. The convicted killer had expressed frustrations about interviewing witnesses while being locked up in jail.
Arias, 34, was unanimously convicted in May 2013 of first-degree murder in the brutal slaying of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. While jurors were unanimous in that decision, they could not come to an agreement on whether to sentence her to the death penalty or life in prison. A new jury, tasked with making a decision regarding sentencing alone, will be selected for Arias’ retrial in September.
Arias will not be flying solo as she stands before that new group of jurors and pleads her case. The attorneys who represented her during her murder trial -- Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott -- will be retained as her advisers, according to the court.
Nurmi tried to get himself removed from Arias' case after she decided to represent herself. Arias even told the judge that she would give up her right to self-representation if Nurmi were allowed to withdraw. But the judge denied Nurmi's request last week.
It wasn't the first time Arias and her attorneys tried to sever their relationship with each other.
In November, Stephens denied a request from Arias asking that Nurmi get booted the case. In a 12-page handwritten letter to Stephens, Arias said she hadn’t spoken with Nurmi for months and she claimed that he had "little to no tolerance for my emotional and psychological shortcomings."
The judge also denied earlier requests from Nurmi and Willmott, who wanted off the case in May 2013 after Arias gave an interview to Phoenix TV station KSAZ following the jury’s guilty verdict. During that interview, Arias told KSAZ's Troy Hayden she would "rather get death than life."
The attorneys asked a second time to withdraw from the case during the penalty phase of the trial, after their request for a mistrial was denied. They requested a mistrial after a defense witness, Arias' childhood friend Patricia Womack, declined to testify, saying she'd received multiple death threats.
If the new jury in the retrial cannot reach a unanimous verdict, Arias will automatically get life in prison. However, the judge will decide whether Arias will get life without parole or life with the eligibility of parole after 25 years.
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