County attorney open to deal in penalty phase of Arias trial - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

County attorney open to deal in penalty phase of Arias trial

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

There's a chance the prosecution and the defense in the Jodi Arias trial may come to an agreement on her sentence before the retrial of penalty phase is scheduled to begin.

Arias has added fuel to the speculation that negotiations are underway.

One of the most recent messages on her Twitter page, @jodiannarias, said, "The State rejected my third request for a plea to settle quietly and less expensively. Off to retrial we go. Sorry, taxpayers."

Maricopa County's top prosecutor said Wednesday that Arias is either not telling the truth or misinformed.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he's open to an agreement that would avoid another "mini-trial," which is how some experts describe the penalty phase.

However, Montgomery stopped short of confirming that negotiations are underway.

"I respect the job that the defense attorneys are doing on behalf of their client, and we're doing our job. And if there is a way for us to reach an agreement short of trial, I'd be open to that, but if not, then we'll wind up retrying the penalty phase," Montgomery said.

Montgomery refused to say what he would accept for an agreement.

On May 8, a jury found Arias guilty of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander at his Mesa home. The same jury was unable to reach a decision on whether Arias should spend the rest of her life in prison or receive the death penalty.

The next hearing in the case is set for Aug. 26.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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