Arias returns to court for penalty phase of trial

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Associated Press

Posted on May 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Updated Monday, May 20 at 1:07 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias' lawyers have asked to withdraw from the case and say they won't call any witnesses in the penalty phase of her trial.

The stunning declaration came Monday after the judge denied their request for a mistrial based on a key witness receiving death threats.

In protest to the judge's decision, defense lawyers Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott asked to withdraw. Their request was promptly denied.

The attorneys then said they won't call any witnesses to testify on Arias' behalf as jurors consider a life or death sentence, sending the court into recess as lawyers work to resolve the next step.

Arias and an ex-boyfriend had been expected to speak to jurors before the panel begins deliberating whether to sentence the 32-year-old Arias to life in prison or execution for murdering her lover in 2008.

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