Offbeat Jodi Arias wants appeal of murder conviction to be sealed
Trial continues for San Antonio man accused of killing brother, burying him in sand
The trial of a San Antonio, Texas man accused of killing his brother in 2016 over the family home, and burying him in a shallow grave in the dunes of the Padre Island National Seashore, enters its second week as testimony resumes today. Gregorio Barrera was 48 when he was charged with killing his younger brother, Andres Barrera, 46, whose decomposing remains were found Sept. 25, 2016, in 3 feet of sand in Kleberg County on the north shore.Prosecutors began presenting evidence in their case Tuesday.
PHOENIX — A sizeable portion of the trial that sent Jodi Arias to prison for life in the 2008 death of her former boyfriend was shrouded in secrecy.
A white-noise machine was turned on regularly during Arias' sentencing retrial three years ago to keep spectators from hearing what lawyers argued as they huddled around the judge's bench. At other times, the public wasn't allowed in the courtroom, like when a judge let a skittish witness testify behind closed doors without revealing that the person in question was Arias.
Skakel prosecutors mulling new murder trial face obstacles
Now that a court has struck down the murder conviction of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, the next step in the decades-long legal saga is up to Connecticut prosecutors, who must decide whether to seek a new trial in the 1975 slaying. As they mull prospects for another guilty verdict they will have to consider a number of new twists that have emerged since Skakel was convicted in 2002 of killing Martha Moxley with a golf club when they were teenage neighbors in the exclusive Belle Haven shoreline section of Greenwich.
Now, Arias is seeking more secrecy: Her lawyers asked the Arizona Court of Appeals on Friday to bar the public from having access to the opening brief in her appeal.
"The contents of the opening brief may endanger some members of the public, given the continuing interest in this case by the public and the media," her lawyers wrote, without explaining what the peril was and who would be affected by the public release of the brief.
Peg Green, an attorney representing Arias, didn't immediately respond Tuesday to an email seeking elaboration on her bid to keep the brief private.
Mia Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Arizona attorney general's office, which is now handling the Arias case, said the agency is opposing Arias' request.
Arias is serving a life sentence for her first-degree murder conviction in the 2008 death of Travis Alexander at his home in Mesa.
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Prosecutors said Arias attacked Alexander in a jealous rage after he wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman. Arias has acknowledged killing Alexander but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her.
The guilt phase of Arias' trial ended in 2013 with jurors convicting her but deadlocking on punishment. A second sentencing trial began in late 2014 and stretched into early 2015, also resulting in a jury deadlock. That required Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens to sentence Arias to prison for life.
The case was marked by secrecy after the first trial, which turned into a media circus as salacious and violent details about Arias and Alexander were broadcast live around the world.
Despite her reservations about testifying during the sentencing retrial, Arias had actively courted the spotlight since she was arrested in 2008. She did interviews on TV's "48 Hours" and "Inside Edition" after her arrest and was on the witness stand for several weeks during the trial in which she was found guilty of murder.
After Skakel decision, ‘touch DNA’ may reveal who killed Martha Moxley
In a stunning reversal of its 2016 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court recently concluded, as a habeas court did in 2013, that Michael Skakel is entitled to a new trial for the murder of Martha Moxley because his attorney, Michael Sherman, rendered ineffective assistance by failing to present testimony from a credible witness that supported his alibi. The state must now decide whether to try Skakel again or ask that the charges against him be dismissed. There was and is no forensic evidence pointing to him - no DNA, no fingerprints, no blood stains on his clothing. There were no eyewitnesses.
She also did a series of media interviews after she was convicted.
In the sentencing retrial, Stephens repeatedly held secret hearings and kicked members of the public out of the courtroom as the first witness called in Arias' defense took the stand.
At the time, the judge didn't reveal the witness' identity, saying only that the decision to close the courtroom was difficult but necessary because the witness wouldn't otherwise testify in public.
A month later, the Arizona Court of Appeals threw out Stephens' ruling that let the unidentified witness testify in a closed courtroom. Eventually, it was revealed that the person testifying in private was Arias.
Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://bit.ly/2GGWEPO.
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Jodi Arias wants appeal of murder conviction to be sealed
Jodi Arias is asking a court to bar the public from viewing the opening brief in the appeal of her murder conviction in the 2008 death of her former boyfriend.
Jodi Arias appealing murder conviction
Jodi Arias swore she will appeal her conviction, and she is. But she doesn't want anyone to know what she thinks was wrong with the trial.