(Reuters) - Defense attorneys for convicted killer Jodi Arias have rested their case in the penalty phase of her trial in Phoenix without calling her back to the witness stand, court officials said on Tuesday. Arias, 34, faces the death penalty for the 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, who was found in the shower of his Phoenix-area home, stabbed 27 times, his throat slashed and shot in the face. As part of her sentencing retrial that began in October, Arias spent parts of two days in late October and early November testifying before jurors in Maricopa County Superior Court without the public or the media present for the proceedings. It was not clear if the order that Arias' testimony be public was a factor in the decision by defense lawyers not to put her back on the witness stand.
President Barack Obama has dropped a controversial proposal to tax "529" college savings plans, a White House official said on Tuesday, calling it a "distraction" from administration efforts to provide middle-class tax relief. The proposal had aroused opposition from Republicans and Democrats in Congress. A source familiar with the situation said House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi had pressed senior administration officials to drop the proposal as she flew with Obama on Air Force One from India to Saudi Arabia. "Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision so that they can instead focus on delivering a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support," the White House official said.
Arriving with warnings of "potentially historic" snowfall, Tuesday's snowstorm managed to deliver on that promise in New England, but dealt only a glancing blow of less than 10 inches in New York City and a whimper of 1.2 inches in Philadelphia.