'Aggravation phase' of Jodi Arias trial postponed

May 9, 2013 at 8:33 PM
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PHOENIX, May 9 (UPI) -- The aggravation phase of convicted murder Jodi Arias' Phoenix trial was delayed until May 15, Judge Sherry Stephens decided Thursday.

No reason was given for the postponement of the next phase of the trial that will more closely examine whether Arias receives the death penalty for stabbing and shooting to death her ex-lover, Travis Alexander, CNN reported.

The Arizona Republic earlier reported Arias, who was found guilty of premeditated murder in the slaying, was on suicide watch in her Maricopa County jail cell Wednesday night.

The Republic said Arias appeared mostly calm and deliberate during her exclusive interview with KSAZ-TV that was conducted in a courthouse holding cell shortly after the verdict was read.

"The worst outcome for me would be natural life [in prison]. I would much rather die sooner rather than later," she said.

"I said years ago I'd rather get death than life. I believe death is the ultimate freedom."

Arias was asked what she would do if ordered to spend the rest of her life in prison.

"I haven't decided yet," she said, her voice cracking.

The Sheriff's Office issued a statement saying her comments during the interview prompted a suicide watch, the Republic said.

"In light of some of her statements during the interview, Arias was brought to jail and per Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was placed on suicide protocol," the sheriff's office said.

The newspaper said while Arias apparently express sorrow for killing the 30-year-old Alexander, she said she hopes his family finds solace in her conviction.

She has maintained she killed Alexander in self-defense and "there was no premeditation on my part."

The jury received the case Friday after a sensational, four-month trial in which the couple's sex lives were laid out in detail.

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