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Jodi Arias

The murder trial of Jodi Arias was huge in the news last year, even though the event took place in 2008. The gruesome killing put the case in the media spotlight. Back in June 2008, Travis Alexander, Arias’ ex-boyfriend was found dead in his home in Mesa, Arizona with more than 25 stab wounds, a gunshot wound, and a slit throat. The defense attorneys tried their hardest to convince the jurors that Alexander was abusive both mentally and physically to Arias, while still having sexual relations with her though he wasn’t married, which went against his Mormon values. However, Arizona prosecutors argued that Arias was upset that Alexander dumped her, and was willingly having sexual relations with him. Arias switching up her stories about the murder didn’t help her case either. First she denied the murder, then she blamed others, and then stated that Alexander became violent and she killed him in self-defense.

After five whole months of testimonies, Arias was convicted of first degree murder. However, the jurors were not able to decide on whether or not she should have the death sentence. Now a judge has allowed for a second penalty phase to take place and her retrial is March 17th. Her defense attorneys argued that this second appeal was unconstitutional, but the judge denied the claim. This will allow another set of jurors to try and come up with a sentence for Arias. If the jury cannot decide on the death penalty again, it will automatically be taken away as an option for her verdict.

George Zimmerman

This case was heard all around America for its racial undertone. There was so much uproar and controversy with this case that it sparked rallies and petitions across the nation. George Zimmerman was accused of second degree murder for shooting and killing seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin. The defense claimed Zimmerman acted in self-defense, but did not use the “stand your ground” law in the defense because the law was so controversial. The “stand your ground” law exists in almost half a dozen states and it allows you to use deadly force when threatened. Zimmerman also had the proper permit to conceal and carry a weapon. On July 13, 2013, the jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder or manslaughter.

Martin MacNeill

This case received a lot of publicity because it sounded like it came from a soap opera: a man killing his wife for a mistress. Dr. Martin MacNeill, 57, was found guilty of first degree murder by the Utah jury for killing his wife Michele, 50. Prosecutors accused MacNeill of convincing his wife to let him do some plastic surgery work on her so he could medicate her and drown her. The prosecution also believed his reason for killing his wife was to make room for a woman he had relations with that he met online. The defense argued that MacNeill’s wife had heart problems and that caused the surgery to turn fatal. Four of MacNeill’s children testified during the three week trial, the oldest stating that she thought her father was guilty. Obviously this did not help MacNeill’s case and he was convicted of first degree murder on November 9th, 2013.

All of these cases show controversy, denial, wrongdoings, and justice. Defense attorneys and prosecutors are always sharpening their minds to make the trail the most fair it can be. These criminal defense cases go down in history along with the crimes committed and the verdicts that are given. We can only imagine what cases 2014 has in store for us.

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/arias-zimmerman-biggest-trials-2013/story?id=21183977#2

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/05/us/trayvon-martin-shooting-fast-facts/

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