Jodi Arias Update: Judge mulls late Sept. trial date

Defendant Jodi Arias gets ready to take the stand to testify during her murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on Feb. 20, 2013. Arias is charged in the 2008 stabbing and shooting death of her lover, Alexander. She faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. Pool, Charlie Leight,AP Photo/The Arizona Republic

Defendant Jodi Arias gets ready to take the stand to testify during her murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on Feb. 20, 2013.
Pool, Charlie Leight,AP Photo/The Arizona Republic
(CBS/AP) PHOENIX - A new jury could be impaneled to decide whether Jodi Arias should be sentenced to death or life in prison sometime in late September, a judge said Tuesday, as attorneys continue to file motions and keep mum on any talk of a deal to resolve the case without another trial.

TIMELINE: Jodi Arias murder casePICTURES: Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder

During a hearing Tuesday in Phoenix, Judge Sherry Stephens gave attorneys additional time to file motions. Arias' attorneys are seeking to have vacated the jury's determination that Arias killed her one-time lover in an "especially cruel" manner. That finding meant that Arias was eligible for the death penalty.

Tuesday's hearing lasted less than an hour. Arias was escorted into the courtroom, wearing shackles and dressed in striped jail clothes, by three heavily armed deputies, one carrying a shotgun.

Judge Sherry Stephens gave defense attorneys until Aug. 5 to file final motions supporting their arguments. She set another status conference in the case for Aug. 26.

"It appears there are a number of issues that are unresolved so I am reluctant to set a firm trial date for the penalty phase retrial at this time," Stephens told attorneys Tuesday.

However, she noted she would like to set a retrial date for late September.

"Parties should work toward beginning trial in late September. That is my intention," Stephens said.

A jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder May 8 in the June 2008 stabbing and shooting death of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in his suburban Phoenix home.

About two weeks later, the same jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on whether to sentence Arias to life in prison or death. While her murder conviction stands, prosecutors must now decide whether to try again for a death sentence with a new jury or simply take the death penalty off the table. That move would allow the judge to decide whether Arias will spend the rest of her life in prison or be released after 25 years.

Arias, 33, admitted to killing the 30-year-old Alexander, but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her. Prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage.

In the event that a second panel is chosen and fails to reach a unanimous decision, the death penalty would automatically be removed from consideration, and the judge would sentence Arias to life.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has said the state is still preparing to seek the death penalty again for Arias, but would consider resolving the case without another trial after consultation with the victim's family and defense lawyers, among other things. 

Complete coverage of the Jodi Arias case on Crimesider


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