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About two dozen potential jurors who said they could not be impartial were dismissed Monday in the penalty retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias, as prosecutors again seek a death sentence in the Arizona case that became a tabloid TV sensation. About 300 prospective jurors reported to the courthouse in Phoenix, with more to come if an impartial panel cannot be found among the first group. A previous jury deadlocked on punishment.
Jury selection began as a sister of victim Travis Alexander sat in the courtroom. Arias, 34, glanced back at the media at one point and smiled just before jurors started arriving. More than 20 people were excused within the first 20 minutes of questioning after saying they had followed the case and would not be able to make a decision based only on information presented at trial. Some said they had seen so much coverage of the trial that they couldn't put it out of their minds.
The retrial, expected to last until mid-December, will not be televised live this time after the judge ruled that no video footage can be broadcast until after the verdict. Arias acknowledged killing Alexander in 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home and claimed it was self-defense. He suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, had his throat slit and was shot in the head. Arias, a former waitress, was found guilty last year. The murder conviction will stand as lawyers spar once again over whether she should die for the crime.
If the new jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the death penalty will be removed as an option and a judge will sentence Arias to spend her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.