Rob Schumacher / Pool via Reuters
Jodi Arias reacts as a guilty verdict is read in her first-degree murder trial in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 8, 2013.
Jodi Arias, the woman convicted of the first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend but not yet sentenced, filed motions this week to fire her lead defense attorney, outlining in a 12-page handwritten letter how his "representation falls short across the board."
Arias' handwritten motion states that she has not spoken to her first chair attorney, Kirk Nurmi, since May 23 — the day jurors in her high-profile trial failed to reach a consensus on whether she should receive the death penalty.
Maricopa County, Ariz., Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens has called for a retrial in the penalty phase.
Arias' plea for a new lead attorney, filed to Judge Stephens, laid out various reasons why she felt Nurmi was insufficient, claiming, "According to the ABA's [American Bar Association's] Death Penalty Guideline's Mr. Nurmi's representation falls short across the board."
Arias claimed that she first tried to fire Nurmi in June, but Stephens didn't grant the request.
Nurmi "stopped treating me with respect long ago," Arias wrote.
"In an unguarded moment in 2012, while expressing my discontent about his quality of representation and lack of thorough investigation, I said, “I deserve an attorney who wants to fight for me,” to which he responded, “You’re not entitled to that," the letter, filed on Tuesday, said.
Arias said she also felt like when she called, Nurmi treated her "like an interruption to his day and a thing he was obligated to deal with."
She also felt betrayed by him. She wrote that Nurmi "has little to no tolerance for my emotional and psychological shortcomings," giving as an example of that the fact that he played a recorded sexual conversation between Arias and her ex, Travis Alexander, in open court when she wanted the tape to only be played in a closed courtroom and not to the general public.
"Any chance at rebuilding trust has been compromised given that I know he doesn’t like me and expressed exactly that to a jury who was tasked with decided whether I live or die," she wrote.
Nurmi could not be immediately reached for comment.
"To put it in the simplest terms (and please forgive the casual language), I am left feeling like crap about myself and my future every time I interact with him," Arias wrote.
She had nothing but positive words for her second-chair attorney, Jennifer Willmott, however, who she says has done most of the work in her case.
"Jennifer treats me with kindness and dignity," she wrote.
Arias, 33, was convicted of killing 30-year-old Alexander in June 2008. Alexander's body was found in the shower of his Mesa, Ariz., home, his throat slit, a gunshot in his head, and 27 stab wounds throughout his body.
Arias contended that she killed Alexander in self-defense and that the relationship was abusive.
The trial, along with lurid details about the former couple's sex life, captivated the nation as it played out live on TV and online.
First published October 25 2013, 1:40 PM