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Jodi Arias judge denies motion to vacate death option

PHOENIX -- The judge in Jodi Arias' murder case has denied a motion by defense attorneys to set aside the Arizona jury's determination that Arias killed her one-time lover in an ``especially cruel'' manner, a finding that made her eligible for the death penalty.

Arias was convicted of first-degree murder May 8 in the stabbing and shooting death of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. The same jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on her sentence. Her case is now in limbo as prosecutors decide whether to put on another penalty phase with a new jury in pursuit of the death penalty or settle for life in prison.

A hearing is set for Aug. 26.

Judge Sherry Stephens previously indicated she wanted to set a new trial date for September.

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