Jodi Arias' Lawyer Asks for Jurors to Be Sequestered

Jodi Arias' parents told police their daughter had "mental problems."

ByABC News
April 4, 2013, 2:46 AM

PHOENIX, Ariz. April 4, 2013— -- Jodi Arias' lawyer asked the judge presiding over her murder trial today to sequester the jury claiming it is a "fairy tale" that the jurors are not seeing news reports about the trial.

The request was made on the day that news outlets, including ABC News, reported that Arias' parents were recorded telling police that their daughter had "mental problems." The comments by the parents had not been entered into the trial as evidence.

The parents' conversation was made to the detective who was investigating Arias for the alleged murder of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

"This case must be tried in the courtroom, not in the media," defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told Judge Sherry Stephens while the jury was out of the courtroom.

"The court asks the question of the jurors every morning, 'Have you seen anything on the media?' No one raises their hand... To believe that to be true is to believe an absolute fiction. It is a fairytale to assume that this jury is not hearing any of this. It is all over the news, be it local or national," Nurmi said.

Clearly angry, Nurmi added, "It is a fiction that is beyond belief."

The lawyer said the information was being released by the prosecutor's office and it was damaging Arias' right to a fair trial.

"I'm asking the court to no longer rely on this fiction that this jury is not seeing any of this media and sequester the jury immediately," Nurmi said.

The judge rejected the motion.

The trial, which began in January, is expected to last until the end of April. If the jury decides Arias is guilty of first degree murder, Arias would be liable to the death penalty. The jury would then continue to sit through a penalty phase to decide whether Arias should be executed. That could last another three weeks.

The interview that prompted Nurmi's comments today was an interview with Arias' parents with homicide detective Esteban Flores two months after Alexander was killed with a barrage of stab wounds and a bullet to the head. During the interview, the parents earned she was about to be charged with murder.

Arias' father, William, gave a tough assessment of his daughter's behavior.

"She was a strange person because some, you know after she left the house, she was just kind of acting a little strange, you know," William Arias said.

Arias described the sometimes volatile relationship between his daughter and wife.

Catching Up on the Trial? Check Out ABC News' Jodi Arias Trial Coverage

"Sometimes she'd call real sweet, and 10 minutes later, she'd call in a rage, you know, just screaming at my wife. She did that over the last year and a half," William Arias said.

Sandy Arias backed up her husband's claim about the rocky relationship she had with her daughter.

"Jodi has mental problems. Jodi would freak out all the time," Arias said.

Sandy Arias told Flores that her daughter was troubled, but not capable of shooting and repeatedly stabbing Alexander.

"I asked her. I ask her because that's the first thing I ask her. She swore she did not go to Arizona. So, of course I believed her. You know, but I questioned her about it," Sandy Arias said.

Arias said her daughter told her she went to Utah at the time Alexander was killed in his Mesa, Ariz., apartment.

"How could somebody... how could she come back and just be normal?" sobbed Arias.

Jodi Arias, 32, has admitted to killing Alexander, 30, after lying for nearly two years about it, but insists she killed him in self-defense.

Timeline of the Jodi Arias Trial