New Arias jury to be impaneled Tuesday

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Jury selection for the Jodi Arias penalty phase retrial is expected to wrap up Thursday. The new jury will be seated Tuesday.

3TV's Mike Watkiss and Jen Wood of TheTrialDiaries.com will provide team coverage of the retrial for 3TV viewers.

Because the judge ruled that there will be no live streaming video like there was for Arias' first trial and no broadcast video until after the verdict, Watkiss and Wood will be live tweeting from the courtroom as the retrial progresses. Use the hashtag #3TVArias to keep up with them.

"I think it's sort of a suspect judgment on the part of Judge Sherry Stephens [to ban video until the verdict], but here we go," Watkiss said. "These are the rules."

Before the new jury can start hearing the case, however, there is one more big decision to be made.

"The defense has challenged the death penalty," Watkiss explained. "They want it thrown out. I think bear in mind the defense is now playing to appellate courts. They're no longer playing to Judge Sherry Stephens. They want to set a record that they can later appeal on."

It was early May 2013 when the original jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder in the death of her ex-lover, Travis Alexander. While they found Arias eligible for the death penalty, they could not unanimously agree to impose the sentence.

Wood, who has been watching the jury selection process, said the prosecution is looking for a different mix this time around.

"They want women younger and middle-aged, probably not too old and mature, but they do want the younger women who are strong, strong views," Wood explained.

"It was a fascinating dynamic to watch them questioning [potential jurors]," Watkiss said.

"What was really interesting is that there were a lot of people on the panel who had domestic violence in their background ... and they did move on to the final round," Wood said. "We don't know if they're on the jury yet."

"There have been some rather comic moments," Watkiss said of jury selection, mentioning a man who told the judge he had just watched the Jodi Arias movie. "You have to bear in mind that there's still a victim and a victim's family here, but it really has become sort of theater of the absurd as it's playing out in this courtroom."

The jury pool started with 400 people, many of whom watched the trial and thought she should get the death sentence.

Between 16 and 18 people will be impaneled. Once both sides have presented their witnesses, 12 of those people will decide if Arias should live or die.

"You've got to have at least four to six alternates," Watkiss said.

Opening statements are scheduled to get underway Monday.

The Arias trial drew attention from all over the world. Trial-watchers from throughout the country traveled here to watch the proceedings live, and countless more watched online.

The interest was almost insatiable. Will that still be true with the live coverage reduced to tweets and a few still photographs?

"Monday should be a good barometer to gauge how interested the public still is," Watkiss said.

During Thursday's hearing, Stephens said an evidentiary hearing will take place Monday and the jury will be impaneled Tuesday.

The retrial is expected to run into December.