2014-01-13T192622Z_1_CBREA0C1I0000_RTROPTP_2_USA-CRIME-JODIARIASSubmitted by: Marla Thompson

PHOENIX (Reuters) – An Arizona judge on Monday set a March court date for retrial of the penalty phase in the sensational murder case of Jodi Arias, who was convicted last year of killing her ex-boyfriend at his home in a Phoenix suburb.

After finding Arias guilty of the 2008 murder of Travis Alexander, a Maricopa County jury last May deadlocked on the question of weather the 33-year-old California waitress should be put to death or be sentenced to life in prison.

The case has since been delayed by legal maneuvering, including a failed bid by defense attorneys to have the case moved out of the Phoenix area because of the widespread publicity.

But on Monday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens ordered that jury selection for the retrial of the penalty phase begin on March 17.

Alexander was found murdered in the shower of his home in June 2008. He had been stabbed multiple times, had his throat slashed and was shot in the face.

The case, which began in January and lasted five months, was punctuated with graphic testimony, bloody photographs and sexual situations. Arias took the stand for 18 days and maintained throughout that the killing was in self-defense.

Prosecutors had the option of retrying the sentencing phase of the trial. If there is another deadlock, a judge would sentence Arias to natural life in prison or life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jonathan Oatis)



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