Jodi Arias 'secret' testimony revealed months after trial
The Jodi Arias trial, which captured the attention of the nation, reenters the spotlight.
PHOENIX — Convicted murderer Jodi Arias' closed-door testimony two months ago at her sentencing retrial revealed few new details about her actions in killing her former boyfriend — and no specifics about why she was allowed to speak to the jury in secret.
Transcripts of the testimony were released Tuesday, weeks after an appeals court threw out a judge's decision to bar the public from the courtroom while Arias was on the stand.
At the time, the judge explained the witness, whose name was then kept secret, was skittish and wouldn't testify in public. The release of the transcripts came after news organizations protested the closure.
Dwane Cates, a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix who isn't involved in the Arias case, believes the courtroom was likely closed in hopes of preventing the case from becoming an even bigger media spectacle than it already was. He doubted the request was granted just to appease Arias.
"It had to do a lot with I think everybody wanted it closed," Cates said.
Arias was convicted last year in the 2008 death of Travis Alexander, but jurors deadlocked on her punishment. A new jury has been hearing testimony since mid-October over whether she should be sentenced to life in prison or death.
Prosecutors said Arias attacked Alexander in a jealous rage after he wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman. Arias has acknowledged killing Alexander but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her.
Despite her reservations about testifying during the sentencing retrial, Arias has actively courted the spotlight since she was arrested in 2008. She did interviews on TV's "48 Hours" and "Inside Edition" after her arrest and was on the witness stand for several weeks during her criminal trial.
She also did a series of media interviews after the jury convicted her of murder.
Her lawyer Kirk Nurmi is quoted in the transcript as saying he was concerned about the media getting hold of the transcript.
As she did in her first trial, Arias said in the most recent testimony that she was raised by physically abusive parents and faced a string of failed romantic relationships in early adulthood. She also detailed the early days of her relationship with Alexander, including their first sexual encounters and bonding over religion.
Her testimony was halted after the appeals court overruled the unusual decision by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens to let Arias testify in private.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez didn't get a chance to question her then, though he did so at her criminal trial. It's unknown whether Arias will take the stand again.
She led off her latest testimony by acknowledging that she killed Alexander and voiced regret at the pain she caused his family.
"I wish so badly that I could just take that away from them, and that I could reverse what I did," Arias said.
The sentencing retrial, which had been expected to end in mid-December, is scheduled to resume Wednesday.
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