Bill Zervakos, the jury foreman in the Jodi Arias murder trial, spoke out yesterday, saying that while he believed Jodi was mentally abused by Travis Alexander, it was no excuse to brutally murder him.
Just one day after the judge declared a mistrial when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on whether or not she should be executed, Bill Zervakos spoke of the difficulties they faced during the five-month-long trial.
“When I walked into that court room for the first time and looked at the defendant – it is hard to put it into perspective, looking at that young woman and thinking about the brutality of the crime. It doesn’t wash,” Bill Zervakos said.
“It is difficult to separate yourself from the emotions and personal side of it.”
Speaking to Good Morning America, Bill Zervakos admitted he did not think Jodi Arias did herself any favors when she took the stand for 18 days because she had so many contradictory stories.
The hardest part, Bill Zervakos said, was having to sit six feet away from Travis Alexander’s family while listening to all the horrific things that happened to him.
“Until you are face to face with someone who is going through that, you cannot put it into words,” he said.
“If you cannot feel that then you have no emotion, no soul.
“But we couldn’t allow ourselves to be emotional and for that I am very proud of my jurors, they did a fantastic job of holding it together – though it was a different story when we got into the jury room.”
Speaking about Travis Alexander, Bill Zervakos said: “I am very sure in my own mind that Jodi was mentally and verbally abused by him. Is that an excuse? Of course not. Did it factor into the decision we made? It has to.”
The next step in the lengthy trial will now come on July 18, when an entirely new jury panel is determined and tasked with delivering the final verdict in the case.
The scene in the Phoenix, Arizona, courtroom on Thursday afternoon – when the jury came back to the judge with their inability to agree – was not one of relief.
Jodi Arias herself looked upset and began crying, though not necessarily tears of joy.
Travis Alexander’s siblings, who have been a constant presence throughout and have all uprooted their lives in California to focus on the trial, were all crying as well.
One female juror was at least sympathetic to them, and she was seen mouthing the word “sorry” toward the Alexanders.
Judge Sherry Stephens, who showed some tough love to the jury on Wednesday, was very complimentary to them.
“This was not your typical trial. You were asked to perform some very difficult duties,” she said.
The jury began deliberating Tuesday, and on Wednesday afternoon they told the Judge that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Judge Sherry Stephens ordered the jurors to go back and talk more until they came to a decision, but that was still not enough time as they came back later yesterday afternoon still at an impasse.
The new jury will not have any power to change her guilty conviction, and they will be solely tasked with determining how Jodi Arias, 32, will “pay” for the first degree murder.
The decision follows a trial that has staggered on for five months over the 2008 sl**ing of Travis Alexander, Jodi Arias’ on-again off-again boyfriend who she killed in his home in 2008. She sta**ed him nearly 30 times, s**t his throat, and shot him.