Defense attorney pleads for leniency for Arias - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

UPDATE

Defense attorney pleads for leniency for Arias

Defense lawyers Kirk Nurmi, left, and Jennifer Wilmott asked Judge Sherry Stephens on Tuesday to step down from the Jodi Arias murder trial but were denied. Defense lawyers Kirk Nurmi, left, and Jennifer Wilmott asked Judge Sherry Stephens on Tuesday to step down from the Jodi Arias murder trial but were denied.
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

An attorney for Jodi Arias has told the jury deciding her fate that his client should get a life sentence for killing her boyfriend five years ago.

Defense lawyer Kirk Nurmi listed several factors the jury could consider in granting mercy, including Arias' age, lack of a criminal record before the killing and even her talents as an artist.

He also says Arias herself will speak to the jury during the penalty phase of the trial.

Other witnesses will include Arias' friends and an ex-boyfriend. Prosecutors will call family members of victim Travis Alexander.

In other news learned Thursday, the lawyers for Jodi Arias this week asked to step down from the case but were denied by judge, according to the Associated Press.

The detail was contained in court minutes and provides no information about why Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott asked to withdraw. The meeting was Tuesday morning and dealt with other motions in the case as well.

Legal experts have said that Arias complicated efforts for her defense when she gave an interview minutes after her conviction saying that she preferred death over life in prison.

Arias was back in court Thursday for the final phase of her sentencing.

The jury will decide whether she should get the death penalty or life in prison.

It took them less than three hours Wednesday for jurors to agree Arias qualifies for death row for the cruel murder of her ex-lover Travis Alexander, who was stabbed nearly 30 times, had his throat slit and was shot in the head.

The jury's verdict Wednesday came after they convicted her last week of first-degree murder.

The jury spent part of Wednesday afternoon deliberating whether the murder of Alexander was cruel enough to warrant the death penalty.

They announced the verdict about 3 p.m. Wednesday, deciding there were aggravating factors in the case.

The jury got the case after a morning of testimony Wednesday, during which prosecutors tried to prove the murder was committed in an especially cruel and heinous manner.

Nurmi maintained the state can't prove its argument beyond a reasonable doubt.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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