As the death penalty sentencing phase for Jodi Arias began in court on Monday her defense team was denied a motion for mistrial and then dropped a bombshell when they asked the judge to allow them to withdraw again as her counsel.
The jury found that Travis Alexander’s brutal murder was “extremely cruel” and testimony has been underway in the sentencing phase but Jodi’s witnesses are now unwilling to testify on her behalf because they claim they have received death threats, according to Kirk Nurmi.
“We cannot provide effective assistance of counsel and we cannot present a complete picture,” Nurmi argued to the judge.
“Your motion is denied,” Judge Stephens ruled and Nurmi told the court that they would not be calling any mitigation witnesses on Jodi’s behalf in the video of the hearing shared by AZCentral.com.
The hearing began with Nurmi asking for a mistrial because “this court had a duty to protect Ms. Arias’ right to a fair trial and failed to do so time and time again.” He also said that witness intimidation began almost immediately in the trial.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez ripped into Patricia Womack, the potential witness the defense wanted to call on behalf of Jodi, telling the court that “her drug use” would have been questioned on the stand “as it involves the witness and the defendant.”
After the judge denied the mistrial the defense dropped another bombshell when they told the court that they would not be calling any witnesses on Jodi’s behalf. Her entire family, including her mother, father, sister and brother are all in the courtroom but they will not be called to testify for her.
The jury was then called back into the courtroom and the judge told updated them, saying: “We are unable to proceed today, please return tomorrow at 9:30. Please remember the admonition.”
RadarOnline.com will be live streaming the proceedings on Tuesday, May 21 at 9:30am PT/12:30 pm ET.