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May 15, 2013

Arizona jurors quickly make finding for Jodi Arias to be formally death eligible

As detailed in this new AP report, the "same jury that convicted Jodi Arias of murder one week ago took about three hours Wednesday to determine that the former waitress is eligible for the death penalty in the stabbing and shooting death of her one-time lover in his bathroom five years ago." Here is more about today's jury finding and what now follows in this high-profile capital case:

The decision came after a day of testimony in the "aggravation" phase of the trial, during which prosecutor Juan Martinez hoped to prove the June 2008 killing was committed in an especially cruel and heinous manner.

Family members of victim Travis Alexander sobbed in the front row as Martinez took the jury through the killing one more time. He described how blood gushed from Alexander's chest, hands and throat as the motivational speaker and businessman stood at the sink in his master bathroom and looked into the mirror with Arias behind him....

The trial now moves into the final phase, in which prosecutors will call Alexander's family and other witnesses in an effort to convince the panel Arias should face the ultimate punishment. Arias' attorneys also will call witnesses, likely members of her family, in an attempt to gain sympathy from jurors so they give her life in prison. That phase is scheduled to start Thursday morning.

The aggravation phase played out in quick fashion, with only one prosecution witness and none for the defense. The most dramatic moments occurred when Martinez displayed photos of the bloody crime scene for the jury and paused in silence for two minutes to describe how long he said it took for Alexander to die at Arias' hands on June 4, 2008....

Martinez told jurors Wednesday that Alexander "suffered immensely" at Arias' hands. "She made sure she killed him by stabbing him over and over and over again," he said.

The defense didn't have much of a case given how many times Alexander was stabbed, the defensive wounds on his hands, the length of the attack, and the sheer amount of blood found at the scene. Defense lawyers said Alexander would have had so much adrenaline rushing through his body that he might not have felt much pain.

The only witness was the medical examiner who performed the autopsy and explained to jurors how Alexander did not die calmly and fought for his life as evidenced by the numerous defensive wounds on his body.

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May 15, 2013 at 07:15 PM | Permalink


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¿ What if she had kindly injected 50cc of KCl into his carotid artery „ then AFTER his blood pooled , repeatedly stabbed and slashed ?

A planned and intentional murder with kindness plus abuse of a corpse .

AIR , the History Channel reported that Catherine the Great ordered her husband drawn and quartered , but also ordered that he first be beheaded so as not to feel the pain of the D&Q.

Nemo Me Impune Laccessit

Posted by: Just Plain Jim | May 16, 2013 8:38:47 AM

Doug, for the Apprendi/Ring fans in the audience, I would submit that the Especially Heinous Atrocious and Cruel aggravating factor cannot pass vagueness muster when used as the sole aggravator, or as Scalia says "an eligibility" aggravator.

In other words, not all ags that were used pre Ring and Apprendi, can automatically be converted to elements of a crime.

There are lots of cases saying EHAC is not unconstitutionally vague pre Ring. That is because the ag didn't increase the "crime the state actually seeks to punish" to quote Scalia again.

Now, a single ag is an element of a new, greater crime. See part III of Scalia's opinion in Sattazahan.

For example, let's look at ags in the noncapital context. NC has ags like the victim was very old, or the amount of money taken was very large. That might survive vagueness muster as a sentencing factor, but not, in my opinion, as the single fact to elevate the basic crime to an aggravated crime. what is old to one person is not to another, what is large to one is small to another. what is the difference to the average layman between an act which is heinous and one which is especially heinous?

I discuss this issue at length in a law review in the NC Central L.R. on Ring.


Posted by: bruce cunningham | May 16, 2013 8:55:49 AM

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