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Jodi Arias Murder Trial Delayed By Sick Courtroom Spectator

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JODI ARIAS DEFENSE TEAM
Jodi Arias' defense team in court Wednesday. The Arias trial was delayed when a courtroom spectator became ill and vomited. (Photo via Pool Camera) | In Session -- Pool Camera
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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.

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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.

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A member of the public has thrown up in the courtroom. The trial is delayed.

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Court is in recess. The live blog will continue when the trial resumes at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.

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Willmott has finished her redirect of Samuels.

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Samuels said Arias indicated she had difficulty sleeping in jail because of the noise.

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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

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Martinez is objecting to almost every one of Willmott's questions.

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Samuels said Arias felt her life was in danger on June 4, 2008, the day of Alexander's slaying.

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Willmott is again walking Samuels through Arias answers to the PTS test.

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The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

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Court is back in session.

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The judge has called a 5 minute recess.

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"If somebody wanted to make things seem worse for themselves, like they had bad things happen to them in the past, could somebody on this particular test answer yes to any one of these questions?" Willmott asked.

"Yes, they could and their scores would go up accordingly," Samuels replied.

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The attorneys are at another sidebar with the judge.

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"Is it illegal to have intercourse with somebody without their consent," Willmott asked Samuels.

"Absolutly," he replied.

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Willmott was asking Samuels about the time Alexander allegedly had sex with Arias while she was asleep. Martinez objected and now the attorneys are at another sidebar.

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The attorneys are at another sidebar with the judge.

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Samuels and Willmott are going over Arias' answers to the post-traumatic stress test.

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"She did not know the purpose of this test," Samuels said, regarding the PTS test he gave Arias.

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Samuels is going over the tests he gave Arias that resulted in her PTSD diagnosis.

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Samuels said a person's short term memory may work during severe trauma, but the long-term memories may not have been formed.

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Willmott is again leading Samuels through his opinion on memory function.

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"She thought the world of him," Samuels said of Arias' feelings for Alexander.

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The attorneys are at another sidebar with the judge.

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"She felt she needed to comply in order to maintain the relationship," Samuels said of Arias participating in sexual activities with Alexander that made her feel uncomfortable.

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According to Samuels' notes from April 21, 2010, Arias told him that Alexander had tied her up on two different occasions. Arias said Alexander tied her wrists and ankles on June 4, 2008, Samuels said. This contradicts Arias' earlier testimony that only her hands were bound.

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