Judge removes Arias juror, denies mistrial

Judge removes Arias juror, denies mistrial

Posted: Updated:
Jodi Arias in court 4/2/13 Jodi Arias in court 4/2/13
PHOENIX -

The judge in the Jodi Arias murder trial threw a juror off the case and denied a defense bid for a mistrial Tuesday as a domestic abuse expert resumed testimony about the defendant's volatile relationship with the victim.

Judge Sherry Stephens met behind closed doors with lawyers in the case and announced the move from the bench to oust juror No. 5.

Stephens said, "Ladies and gentleman, juror No. 5 has been excused. You should not speculate about the reasons for that decision. Did any of you see anything about this case in the media? I'm not seeing any hands."

Defense lawyers say the juror made comments about the case to a fellow panelist that raised questions about her impartiality. They did not provide specifics.

The move leaves five alternate jurors, in addition to the 12 who will decide the case.

So far, the juror who was excused has not talked to anyone in the media about what happened. But we did speak to a woman who saw her leave the building.

"I was looking at the elevators and I saw the baliff with juror No. 5. And we all knew who she was. Crying hysterically, she had Kleenex, her makeup was gone on her face. She had obviously been crying for some time," said Katie Wick.

The development came three months to the date since testimony began in a trial that has attracted an international following among people who have taken advantage of streaming Internet video of the case to keep tabs on the salacious details coming out of the Phoenix courtroom.

Arias testified at length about what she described as a twisted sexual relationship with Travis Alexander before she killed him in his Mesa home in 2008. Arias said it was in self-defense.

She faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.

Psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette returned to the witness stand Tuesday and described her impressions of the relationship between Arias and Alexander after spending more than 40 hours interviewing the defendant. She also described emails she analyzed between the two, including from a friend of Alexander who described him as a flirt with other women.

LaViolette also pointed to Arias' journal entries, where she wrote, "I just wish I could die. I wish suicide was a way out, but it is no escape."

"Her isolation, what they have is a secret between the two of them and as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, it is our secrets that oppress us," she testified.

She has testified previously about why some battered women don't leave their partners, due to fear and shame. Arias has testified that Alexander was physically and emotionally abusive.

Watch the trial while it's in session: www.myfoxphoenix.com/category/234796/live-video2

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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