Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder May 8 in the stabbing and shooting death of Travis Alexander in his Arizona home.
Arias’ attorneys have requested that a judge vacate the jury’s decision in her murder trial that the killing of her boyfriend was “especially cruel,” which would allow a jury to consider deeath penalty.
Defense attorneys argue in their motion that the jury is unable to determine whether or not the killing was cruel because the definition of “especially cruel” is too vague for jurors, who have no legal experience.
The defense motion was filed as prosecutors are preparing to pursue the ultimate punishment again in a second penalty phase with a new jury, as the first jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on whether to sentence Arias to life in prison or death. Prosecutors have the option of taking the death penalty off the table and avoiding another trial, meaning Arias would be sentenced to life in prison.