Jodi Ann Arias, the California woman accused of brutally killing her ex-boyfriend, will face the death penalty when her case goes to trial later this year, an Arizona judge has decided.
Judge Sherry Stephens denied a defense motion Thursday in which defense lawyers requested the death penalty be removed as a punishment option for Arias. The 31-year-old photographer is accused of shooting her lover, Travis Alexander, in the face, stabbing him multiple times, and slitting his throat.
The defense had argued that Arias should not face death because she had not planned to kill Alexander. His death was an act of self-defense, her attorneys argued.
While Stephens denied the motion regarding the death penalty, she did grant a separate motion, prohibiting witnesses from hearing the testimony of other witnesses when the case goes to trial.
Alexander, a 30-year-old motivational speaker and insurance salesman from Mesa., Ariz., 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.
CASE PHOTOS: (Article Continues Below)
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. Arias now claims she was a victim of domestic violence who killed him in self-defense.
Originally slated to begin on Feb. 21, Arias trial was delayed because Arias' lawyer, Victoria Washington, asked to withdraw from the case. Jennifer Willmott, a death penalty-qualified defense attorney, has since been assigned to represent Arias.
Stephens has set Oct. 17 as the date jury selection will begin.
READ THE LATEST COURT DOCUMENTS IN THE CASE: