Jodi Arias' murder trial was delayed Wednesday when a spectator became ill and vomited in the gallery.
The unidentified spectator threw up as the trial in Phoenix was about to resume from the afternoon recess, prompting the judge to end the trial for the day. There were no details about the person's illness.
The long-running trial will resume Thursday, when the first defense expert witness, psychologist Richard Samuels, will face questions from the jury. Arizona is one of three states that allow jurors to pose questions to witnesses after prosecution and defense lawyers have finished their questioning. Arias' defense attorney, Jennifer Willmott, wrapped up her examination of Samuels on Wednesday, giving the 12 jurors and six alternates -- seven women and 11 men –- their first opportunity to put questions to the defense expert.
The jurors' questions and Samuels' answers may prove pivotal to Arias' fate. She faces the death penalty if convicted.
Arias, 32, is accused of the June 4, 2008, slaying of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, 30, inside his Mesa, Ariz., home. The prosecution contends Arias stabbed Alexander almost 30 times, shot him in the head and slashed his throat in a jealous rage. Arias told jurors she killed Alexander in self-defense during an argument over a dropped camera that followed his escalating sexual demands.
Willmott, wrapping up questioning of Samuels on Wednesday after four lengthy days, went into great detail about Arias' answers on a psychological test for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Samuels said all the information he gathered on Arias, including her test results, support a diagnosis of PTSD. Samuels also said the condition likely explains why Arias has holes in her memory of the night she killed Alexander -- gaps exposed repeatedly by the prosecutor during his aggressive cross-examination of Arias.
"What were her feelings after she told you what happened" on the day of the killing? Willmott asked.
"She said she was very relieved as if a great weight had been lifted," Samuels replied.
"Did she repeat that to you several times?" asked Willmott.
"Yes, she did," Samuels said.
The trial is scheduled to resume at about 1:30 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, when jurors' questions will be presented to Samuels.
WEDNESDAY'S LIVE BLOG:
03/20/2013 7:10 PM EDT
Court Cancelled For Remainder Of Day
As a result of a spectator throwing up in the courtroom the trial has been recessed for the evening. The trial will resume tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.
03/20/2013 7:04 PM EDT
Sick Trial Watcher
A member of the public has thrown up in the courtroom. The trial is delayed.
03/20/2013 5:50 PM EDT
Court is in recess. The live blog will continue when the trial resumes at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.
03/20/2013 5:49 PM EDT
Willmott has finished her redirect of Samuels.
03/20/2013 5:47 PM EDT
No Sleep In Jail
Samuels said Arias indicated she had difficulty sleeping in jail because of the noise.
03/20/2013 5:44 PM EDT
Dr Samuels calls the attacker lie an "alternate reality" #JodiArias created to cope with the killing.— Chris Williams (@chriswnews) March 20, 2013
03/20/2013 5:42 PM EDT
Arias Test Results:
Samuels said that even though Arias was lying about her involvement in Alexander's slaying at the time he gave her the PTS test, many of the answers she gave are still consistent with her self-defense story
03/20/2013 5:39 PM EDT
Martinez is objecting to almost every one of Willmott's questions.
03/20/2013 5:38 PM EDT
Arias Feelings On June 4, 2008:
Samuels said Arias felt her life was in danger on June 4, 2008, the day of Alexander's slaying.
03/20/2013 5:37 PM EDT
Willmott is again walking Samuels through Arias answers to the PTS test.
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