Defense rests in Jodi Arias case

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The defense in the Jodi Arias case has now rested, and the sentencing retrial may finally be winding down.

Arias will not be going back on the witness stand. A few months ago, Arias testified in secret without the media or public present.

But the Arizona Supreme Court said she couldn't do that. Now, she's decided not to finish what she started.

Arias told Judge Sherry Stevens that since she can no longer testify without the public present she would rather stay silent until the end of the trial when she can address the jury in her own way without any lawyer questions.

Legal expert Dwane Cates said it's a win for the defense team that Arias will not have to be cross-examined by prosecutor Juan Martinez.

"We're talking about humanizing her, making her a person for the jury," Cates said. "Jurors have a hard time putting female defendants to death to begin with and the more she becomes a person the harder it will be for them to vote for the death penalty."

On the witness stand Tuesday was one of Alexander's ex-girlfriends, Deanna Reid. She testified that Alexander never physically abused her, disputing a defense witness statement that Alexander had hit Reid.

At one point Reid got a little hostile on the witness stand, telling one of Arias' lawyers that she is the one misleading the jury.

Testimony will continue Wednesday afternoon.

On Monday, prosecutor Juan Martinez pulled out all stops to discredit defense witness Robert Geffner.

Martinez and Geffner, a psychologist, got into a heated back-and-forth argument about domestic violence and the difference between a "shove" and a "push."

Arias, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her ex-lover Travis Alexander, is fighting for her life as this jury determines whether she should spend the rest of her life in prison or should be executed.

The jury that convicted Arias on May 8, 2013, was unable to reach a verdict in her sentencing, and Stephens declared a mistrial May 23, 2013.

The body of 30-year-old Alexander was found in his Mesa apartment. He had been stabbed, his throat was slit and he had a gunshot wound to his forehead.

Arias, who initially denied she killed Alexander, would eventually admit that she killed him in self-defense, but jurors didn't buy into that claim.

Members of the current jury, which was selected from more than 400 potential jurors over several weeks, have been shown graphic photos of the crime scene, listened to interrogation tapes in which Arias produced a number of lies and had a juror dismissed for asking a woman journalist in attendance if she was TV journalist Nancy Grace, since the retrial began Oct. 21.

The trial, which has generated an online and cable news audience nationwide, is expected to last through January, Stephens said last week.