January 13, 2015 / 10:05 PM / 6 years ago

Convicted killer Jodi Arias struggled to admit murder, transcript says

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Convicted murderer Jodi Arias told a jury deciding whether she should be executed for killing her former lover that she struggled for two years to admit to herself that she did the crime, according to secret testimony released on Tuesday.

Jodi Arias sits in the Maricopa County Superior Courtroom in Phoenix, Arizona, October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic/Pool

    Arias, 34, wasted no time telling jurors last year in closed-door testimony during her ongoing sentencing retrial that she killed Travis Alexander at his Phoenix-area home in 2008, according to the Arizona Republic newspaper.

    But in the testimony obtained by the newspaper, Arias expressed remorse and explained that her behavior in the time that followed the murder amounted to an attempt to hide her involvement, the paper said.

   “Why did it take you two years to admit that ... that you did it?” the transcript quoted Arias’ defense attorney as saying, according to the state’s largest newspaper.

    “It took me that long to be able to admit to myself that - that I did it,” she responded.

    Her words were contained in roughly 250 pages of testimony given on Oct. 30 and Nov. 3 in Maricopa County Superior Court without the public or the press being allowed to attend the proceedings.

    The testimony was released after news organizations mounted a legal challenge to Judge Sherry Stephens’ decision to close the courtroom. On Friday, Stephens ordered the transcript be made public following a ruling by the state Supreme Court.   

    Defense attorneys had sought to keep the testimony private, maintaining that releasing it hampered Arias’ right to a fair trial. Arias, who testified for 18 days in her high-profile trial, said she feared for her safety and that media coverage would hurt her ability to state her case.

    Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder in May 2013, an act she said she committed in self-defense. Prosecutors said it was jealous rage. Jurors who found her guilty deadlocked on her sentence.

     A new jury is now hearing evidence. If this jury cannot decide, Stephens will sentence Arias to life in prison or life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech

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