Judge Deborah Bernini got a surprise this morning and she didn't seem to be too happy about it.
The judge was told Anthony Lewis, 55, has rejected a plea agreement that would take the death penalty off the table in his murder case.
"You're kidding!" Judge Bernini exclaimed.
The Pima County Attorney's Office extended a deal to Lewis that would have guaranteed him a no-parole life term in exchange for his pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Angela Hudson four years ago.
Defense attorneys Becky McLean and Walt Palser told Judge Bernini they have made a counter-offer and prosecutor Nicol Green will be taking it to a team of experienced prosecutors who make up what's known as the homicide panel.
Green told the judge it's "highly unlikely" a new offer will be extended.
Now that the offer has been rejected, McLean and Palser are moving on to the next step. They hope to prove that Lewis isn't eligible for the death penalty anyway.
They will be calling doctors to the stand on Dec. 10 in an attempt to show Lewis is intellectually disabled, was intellectually disabled before he turned 18 and is incapable of performing day-to-day tasks that people with normal IQs can.
On Sept. 22, 2008, Hudson banged on her next-door neighbor's back door, naked and with her hair on fire. He shoved her into the shower and called 911.
Hudson, 44, told the neighbor Lewis "threw fire" on her. She died five months later. Her father said she suffered burns on 35 percent of her upper body, including her face, shoulders and chest. As a result, she had heart, lung and kidney problems.