Members of jury for the Jodi Arias court case were sent home at 4.30 p.m. local time after spending the entire day deliberating whether or not they should sentence the convicted murderer to death or to spend her life in prison.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday the jury returned to the courtroom after deliberating for two and a half hours saying that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision, but that did not sit well with Judge Sherry Stephens.
Sherry Stephens ordered the jurors to go back and talk more until they came to a decision.
The rest of the afternoon was not enough, however, as they were sent home and ordered to return at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
There are three options going forward: they will either decide to sentence 32-year-old Jodi Arias to death, or to sentence her to spend her life in prison with the prospect of parole after 25 years. The third option would be if they fail to unanimously agree on those two sentences, making them a hung jury.
In that case, the judge will be forced to declare a mistrial and a new jury will be picked.
The new jury will not have any power to change her guilty conviction, and they will be solely tasked with determining how Jodi Arias will “pay” for the first degree murder.
The decision follows a trial that has staggered on for five months over the 2008 slaying 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.
Even for the most fastidious of court followers who have developed a sense of who Jodi Arias is over the past five months of the trial, her behavior in the past week has been confusing as she gave conflicting statements about her desire thoughts on a possible death sentence.
Immediately after her guilty verdict was handed down two weeks ago, Jodi Arias granted a local news station an interview where she said that she was “in shock” and that she would rather be given the death penalty as opposed to a life sentence in prison.
Speaking to the local Fox affiliate KSAZ, Jodi Arias said that she would “prefer to die sooner than later”.
“Longevity runs in my family, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place. I’m pretty healthy, I don’t smoke and I’ll probably live for a long time so that’s not something that I am looking forward to.
“I believe death is the ultimate freedom and I’d rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
Those comments prompted courthouse officials to order that Jodi Arias be placed in a psychological hold and on suicide watch, which inevitably delayed the second portion of the sentencing- where jurors were forced to decide if the murder was especially aggressive.
During the ensuing testimony, called the aggravation portion of the trial, jurors heard from both sides who were able to call witnesses arguing that she should and shouldn’t be forced to die, respectively.
When she addressed the court in her own defense, Jodi Arias pledged, if allowed to live, to donate her hair to cancer patients and start a prison recycling program.
“I have made many public statements that I would prefer the death penalty to life in prison,” Jodi Arias told jurors.
“In each of those cases, I lacked perspective,” she said.
“Until very recently I could not imagine standing before you all and asking for you to give me life,” she said.
“But as I stand here now I cannot in good conscience ask you to sentence me to death.”
Jodi Arias made the statements as she tried desperately to humanize herself to jurors by sharing childhood photographs, talking about her “red-headed stage” and displaying the drawings she has created while in prison.
She followed up her case with a surprise jailhouse interview on Tuesday where she placed blame on her legal team.
The most emotional portions of the entire trial came last week, when Travis Alexander’s siblings told the court how their lives have been wrecked in the wake of their brother’s brutal murder.
The victim’s brother Stephen Alexander told how he has since been put on several different antidepressants, had to have several hospitalizations for his ulcers, and frequently wakes up in the middle of the night with vivid nightmares.
His sister Samantha told the court that even though she has been a police officer in California for 11 years, the photos of her brother’s crime scene were by far the most gra**ic she has ever seen.
They both said how difficult it was for them to see his murderer in court and on her many television appearances, so the judges’ move to force the jury to a decision deadline may be in light of the victim’s family’s wishes.