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Jodi Arias Update: Judge Sets Murder Trial For Oct. 17

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An undated photo of accused killer Jodi Arias.
An undated photo of accused killer Jodi Arias.

An Arizona judge has set a new trial date for Jodi Ann Arias, a California woman accused of brutally killing her ex-boyfriend.

The Huffington Post was the first to report last week that the would-be legal event of 2012, which was scheduled to start late next month, would likely be delayed due to a change in counsel.

Tuesday morning, Judge Sherry Stephens set Oct. 17 as the date jury selection will begin.

Originally slated to begin on Feb. 21, the trial has been delayed because Arias' lawyer, Victoria Washington, asked to withdraw from the case.

During today's case-management hearing, Stephens appointed Jennifer Willmott, a death penalty-qualified defense attorney, to represent Arias. Willmott will have roughly 10 months to get up to speed on the case.

Arias, a 31-year-old photographer from Yreka, Calif., is accused of killing her former lover, Travis Alexander.

A 30-year-old motivational speaker and insurance salesman from Mesa., Ariz., Alexander was found dead on June 9, 2008. Friends found Alexander's naked body inside his standup shower, and advanced decomposition suggested he had been dead for several days.

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Authorities ultimately determined Alexander had been shot in the right brow with a .25-caliber gun and stabbed 27 times before his throat was cut from ear to ear.

Arias initially denied any involvement in the slaying. When police used DNA and other physical evidence to place her at the crime scene she admitted she was present when Alexander was murdered, but said his death occurred during a home invasion. She has since changed her story again, allegedly arguing that she was a victim of domestic violence who killed him in self defense.

If convicted, Arias could face the death penalty.

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