Arias attorneys want no live TV coverage of penalty retrial
(CNN) — Jodi Arias’ attorneys have filed a motion to limit or ban live TV coverage of her upcoming penalty-phase retrial.
In the motion filed Thursday, defense attorneys argued that live coverage of the convicted killer’s first trial led to death threats against them and their witnesses. They are asking the judge to not allow video of the proceedings to be aired until the retrial is over, citing concerns for Arias’ right to a fair trial.
On May 8, a jury found Arias guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.
The jury found Arias acted in a “cruel manner,” in killing Alexander, who was stabbed multiple times, shot once in the head and his throat slit from ear to ear.
However, those same jurors could not reach an unanimous verdict about whether she should get life in prison or the death penalty.
According to court documents, two key mitigation witnesses — Alyce LaViolette and Patricia Womack — refuse to participate in further court proceedings, based on the threats and harassment they received.
LaViolette testified in the trial that Arias was a victim of Alexander’s physical and verbal abuse. She also insisted that Arias was not stalking Alexander in the months prior to his death.
Womack, a childhood friend of Arias, was expected to testify on her behalf during the penalty phase of the first trial, but she did not take the stand.
It is not known whether the judge will hear the TV coverage motion when the prosecution and defense hold a pretrial hearing on Monday. The date of the penalty-phase retrial may be set at that time.
Arias’ attorneys have filed a motion asking the judge to force prospective jurors in the sentencing phase retrial to hand over information about their personal Twitter accounts.
The retrial will only apply to the penalty phase of Arias’ case. Her first-degree murder conviction still stands.
When the retrial begins, a new jury will be selected, and it will decide whether Arias will be sentenced to death via lethal injection or life in prison.
By Kamal Wallace