(PHOENIX) — Jodi Arias’ attorneys were denied the chance to have the death penalty taken off the table in Arias’ murder trial, as the Arizona Supreme Court rejected their petition for an appeal.
Arias was convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, and is facing the possibility of the death penalty. The jury that found her guilty of premeditated murder was split over whether to sentence Arias to death. The prosecutor now must decide whether to find a new jury to decide Arias’ punishment.
During the trial, however, Arias’ attorneys appealed to Arizona’s highest court to reconsider whether Arias should face the death penalty. They claimed that the prosecution’s testimony about the way Alexander died, and how cruel it was, was inconsistent.
Arias’ attorneys had also asked Judge Sherry Stephens, who oversaw the murder trial, to declare a mistrial based on the same issue, but Stephens declined.
Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi argued that the testimony of Detective Esteban Flores, who investigated Alexander’s death, conflicted with the testimony of Dr. Kevin Horn, the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Alexander. Both men testified about the order in which Arias attacked Alexander with a knife and gun.
The jury in the case found that Alexander had suffered egregious pain, an aggravating factor in the murder. Under Arizona law, an aggravating factor must be present for the death penalty to be considered.
According to the court, Arias’ attorneys filed a petition for review in February. The court’s justices reviewed the petition on Wednesday and declined to take the case.
Arias is now in jail, awaiting the prosecutor’s decision on whether to seat a new jury for the death penalty phase. If the prosecutor chooses not to move forward with a second penalty phase, Arias will be sentenced to life in prison either with or without the possibility of parole by Stephens.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Julia Horowitz, CNN