|Arias Juror Dismissed After 4 Months|
|By RYAN OWENS and SHANA DRUCKERMAN||Apr 25, 2013, 3:35 AM|
The man known as Juror 8, who has taken copious notes throughout the trial and submitted several questions to witnesses on the stand, was dismissed today without comment by Judge Sherry Stephens.
He is the third juror to be dismissed from proceedings since the trial began in the Phoenix courtroom in January. Fifteen jurors will listen to the rest of the trial, and 12 will enter into deliberations.
The news came on the same day that the state rested its case against Arias after calling nine rebuttal witnesses.
The defense will call one additional witness next week, and closing arguments are expected on Thursday and Friday. The case will then go to the jury.
Arias, 32, faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. She initially denied killing Alexander, 30, but claimed two years later that she killed him in self-defense.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez called two additional witnesses to the stand as part of his rebuttal case Wednesday. The first was Det. Robert Brown with the Mesa Police Department, who conducted a search of Arias cellphone following Alexander's murder.
Brown testified he recovered two photos, both showing Arias with dark brown hair days before the murder. Martinez said Arias dyed her hair blonde in an effort to conceal her identity and limit the likelihood of someone recognizing her at the scene of the crime.
Earlier in the trial Arias said that her hair remained the same color, auburn-brown, throughout May and June.
Martinez then turned his attention to photographs of Alexander's very organized and undisturbed closet where Arias says she climbed on a shelf to grab a gun as she fought for her life.
Mesa Police Det. Esteban Flores told the jury that the shelving in the closet was very light and only rested on pins.
Through the judge, jurors had the opportunity to ask Flores questions about the appearance of the closet following the murder.
"Were any of the shoes out of place when detectives arrived on the scene?" Stephens asked.
"Nothing appeared out of place," Flores said.
"Were there any signs of evidence found at Travis' house that he owned a gun?" Stephens asked.
"None whatsoever," Flores answered.
Flores also said there was no evidence that a gun had ever been in the house – no holster, no case, no spare bullets or cleaning case.
The prosecution alleges that Arias brought the gun with her from California after stealing it from her grandparents' home. Arias' grandmother was present in court Wednesday for the first time during the murder trial.
The judge also ruled Wednesday that the jury will hear from one final witness next week before closing arguments. In a victory for the defense, Arias' team will essentially be allowed to reopen their case and call another expert witness to take the stand to rebut testimony by prosecution witness Dr. Janeen DeMarte.
Dr. Robert Geffner will attempt to rebut DeMarte's testimony. DeMarte told the jury that Arias suffered from borderline personality disorder and rejected defense claims that Arias showed signs of being a victim of domestic abuse and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.