Jurors deciding the fate of convicted murderer Jodi Arias were brought to tears Thursday, visibly shaken by dramatic statements from the victim’s family members as they described how their lives were ripped apart by the killing.
Alexander’s sister Samantha described for the panel how their grandmother, who raised the victim, saw her health fail and died around the time of jury selection.
“Travis was the glue in our family,” Samantha said. She also recalled her brother’s charisma, sense of humor, insight and “huge smile.”
“Travis was our strength, our beacon of hope, our motivation,” she said through tears. “Our lives will never be the same. … We would give anything to have him back.”
Travis Alexander’s younger brother Steven told the panel he was hospitalized for ulcers, lost sleep and separated from his wife.
He paused to choke back tears and regain his composure as he recounted the phone call he got from his sister the day his brother’s body was found.
“She told me, ‘Steven, Travis is dead,'” he said. “I thought I was dreaming.”
Steven Alexander described how his brother had survived motorcycle and car crashes and seemed to be “bulletproof.”
“The nature of my brother’s murder has had a major impact on me. It’s even invaded my dreams,” Steven Alexander told jurors, standing at a podium about 6 feet from the panel. “I’ve had nightmares about somebody coming after me with a knife, then going after my wife and my daughter.
“I don’t want these nightmares anymore,” he said. “I don’t want to see my brother’s murderer anymore.”
The same Phoenix jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder last week after about 15 hours of deliberations. During the ongoing final penalty phase of the trial, the panel will decide whether to sentence her to life in prison or death for the 2008 murder of her one-time lover.
Arias cried periodically during the testimony and looked away from jurors.
Jurors had been scheduled to hear from Arias’s character witnesses later in the afternoon.
But after a lengthy delay, the judge said the trial was “unable to proceed,” and adjourned until Monday. It was the second unexplained delay in the trial’s penalty phase.