Jurors ask Jodi Arias about religion, memory

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 6, 2013 at 9:16 pm •  Published: March 6, 2013
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Arias also testified previously how Alexander demeaned her and called her derogatory terms like "whore" and "skank." Jurors then asked how she defined "skank." She stammered with her response and skirted the question.

The panel also asked about her commitment to Mormon teachings. She converted to the faith after meeting Alexander, also a Mormon, but the two carried on an intense sexual relationship, despite church doctrine that discourages sex outside of wedlock.

The questions provided a glimpse into the panel's thoughts after hearing her testify about practically every detail of her life.

They asked her about past relationships with other men and how it could have been so easy for her to get a gun from the victim's closet while he chased her in a fury. Jurors also wanted to know why she tried to clean the bloody scene at Alexander's home.

She has acknowledged dumping the gun in the desert, getting rid of her bloody clothes, and leaving the victim a voicemail on his mobile phone within hours of killing him in an attempt to cover her tracks.

Arias' grandparents had reported a .25-caliber handgun stolen from their Northern California home about a week before the killing — the same caliber used to shoot Alexander — but Arias says didn't take it. Authorities believe she brought it with her.

A noted attorney in California, where it's up to judges to decide whether jurors may question witnesses, doesn't think the practice is a good idea.

"It becomes too difficult, too tempting for a juror to lose their role as an impartial fact-finder and slip into the role of an advocate, and I think that's contrary to what the whole justice system is based upon," said Los Angeles-area defense attorney Mark Geragos.

"In effect, you've deputized the jurors as investigators," Geragos added.

Others, however, say the practice is a useful tool aimed at getting to the truth, and it provides attorneys a window into the deliberation room, giving them time to change strategies.

Phoenix criminal defense attorney Julio Laboy said juror questions of a witness during a case where he was representing a client charged with murder once led to prosecutors offering a deal to plead to a lesser count.

"In the end, what this is all really about is the search for truth, and any mechanism that allows jurors to get closer to the truth without prejudicing one side or the other, I think, is a good tool," Laboy said.