Judge sets closing arguments in Jodi Arias murder trial
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
What will Nancy Grace cover next? The first-degree murder trial of Jodi Arias appears to be winding down to some conclusion after Judge Sherry Stephens on Wednesday told jurors that they might get the case in another eight days.
Stephens said court would continue through Thursday, and will then recess until May 1, when attorneys can call the remainder of their witnesses.
Stephen scheduled closing arguments for May 2 and May 3, after which jurors would begin deliberating Arias' fate.
Arias faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her ex-lover Travis Alexander. She claims she killed him in self-defense.
The prosecution brought two more witnesses to the stand on Wednesday after attorneys skated through questioning of four witnessed called to discredit the testimony of Arias that she was a victim of abuse before killing Alexander.
Arias' defense lawyers were still hoping Stephens would allow another witness.
On Tuesday, prosecutor Juan Martinez first called Jacob Mefford, a friend of Alexander, who also was an acquaintance of Arias while they worked at Prepaid Legal.
Mefford took a video shown to the court of Arias and Alexander at a Prepaid Legal event in 2007 that showed no animosity between Arias and Alexander. Mefford testified that they were very affectionate toward each other.
Arias has testified that Alexander shunned her in public and only showed affection in private.
Eanna Reid, the fourth person to testify, said she was a former girlfriend of Alexander's who broke up with him in 2005. She said she he was never verbally or physically abusive toward her.
Martinez also called Amanda Webb, an investigator for Walmart, who testified that Arias never returned a gas can to the California store as she previously claimed.
Another California witness, Chelsea Young, who works for the Tesoro gas station company, said a person cannot run a credit or debit through a pump swipe three times as Arias claimed she did on a trip because of an automatic fraud protection element that kicks in.
Stephens was expected to rule on a couple of very important motions from the defense when testimony resumed Tuesday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court.
The first was supposed to be a request from Arias' attorneys to ask the jury to consider manslaughter charges instead of just first or second-degree murder in the death of Alexander.
If Arias is convicted of manslaughter, she could be sentenced from seven to 21 years in prison, instead of the possibility of the death penalty if she is convicted of first-degree murder.
She would also get credit for the 4 1/2 years she's already been in jail waiting for trial.
The defense also wanted to call another psychologist to the stand, following the prosecution's rebuttal witnesses.
Defense attorneys said they hope to persuade the jury that Arias was truly in an abusive relationship and was forced to kill Alexander in self-defense.
Alexander was found in the bathroom of his Mesa home with 27 stab wounds, his throat slit and a gunshot wound to his head.
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