Jodi Arias has escaped the death penalty for murdering ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008 after an Arizona jury failed to reach a verdict on March 5 in the sentencing retrial of the former waitress.
Jodi Arias, 34, was found guilty of the murder in 2013 but jurors at that trial deadlocked on whether to give her the death penalty. A new jury of eight women and four men was seated in October to hear a sentencing retrial but announced on March 5 it could not decide on a punishment.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens said the jury was hung and declared a mistrial. The judge now will sentence Jodi Arias to life in prison or to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Both sides will have an opportunity to make their case to the judge before she makes that decision.
Prosecutors accuse Jodi Arias of murdering Travis Alexander in a jealous rage but she says she acted in self-defense.
Travis Alexander, 30, was found dead in a shower at his Phoenix-area home. He had been stabbed multiple times, his throat was cut almost from ear to ear, and he had been shot in the face.
Jodi Arias is back in court for her sentencing retrial in Travis Alexander murder case.
As he delivered his opening statement, prosecutor Juan Martinez displayed a crime-scene photo of Travis Alexander saying: “She loved him so much that this is what she did to him.”
Prosecutor Juan Martinez urged jurors to sentence Jodi Arias to death.
The opening statements came as a jury was seated and testimony began in a retrial to determine whether Jodi Arias lives or dies for her crimes.
It was less of a spectacle than the initial case in early 2013, when onlookers from around the country traveled to Phoenix and lined up outside court for the trial that became a tabloid TV sensation. Still, some of the people who regularly attended the first trial were back in court on October 21.
Jodi Arias has acknowledged killing Travis Alexander but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her. Prosecutors said it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.
Jodi Arias is back in court for her sentencing retrial in Travis Alexander murder case
Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said that Jodi Arias was the victim of profound humiliation by Travis Alexander, and that she is mentally ill and a victim of child abuse.
Kirk Nurmi urged jurors to sentence Jodi Arias to life in prison, saying she is remorseful about killing the man who never acknowledged to others that she was his girlfriend.
“Jodi Arias was always the girl behind the closed door in the bedroom,” Kirk Nurmi told jurors.
He suggested his client would testify during the proceedings expected to last until December.
“She will tell you how horrified she is that she killed the man she loved,” Kirk Nurmi said.
Jodi Arias, a 34-year-old former waitress, was convicted of murder last year in the killing of Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home.
Jurors couldn’t agree on a sentence then. Prosecutors have one more chance with a new jury to secure the death penalty. If the jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the judge will then sentence Jodi Arias to spend the rest of her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens told the new jury that they had to accept the guilty verdict on the murder charge.
The first trial was broadcast live, but Judge Sherry Stephens imposed restrictions on the sentencing retrial. Cameras are allowed at the retrial, but no footage can be broadcast until it’s finished.
The retrial for the penalty phase of convicted killer Jodi Arias will begin on September 8.
Judge Sherry Stephens has pushed back the Jodi Arias retrial because attorney Juan Martine will be prosecuting in another trial that conflicts with Arias’ trial.
The retrial for the penalty phase of convicted killer Jodi Arias will begin on September 8
According to the Arizona Republic, Juan Martinez is scheduled to begin the trial on May 12, the oldest capital murder case in Maricopa County, which may also be a death penalty trial. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Welty ruled the trial of Bryan Hulsey, who was accused of killing a police officer in the Phoenix area in 2007 will go first.
Jodi Arias, 33, was convicted of killing her boyfriend at his suburban Phoenix home in 2008. Jodi Arias said she did it in self-defense. She claimed Travis Alexander had a violent outburst while they were shooting a video and she dropped his camera. The jury found her guilty but couldn’t decide whether to sentence her to life in prison or give her the death penalty but the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on her sentence.
In Arizona, capital-murder trials have three parts. First, a jury has to find the person guilty of first-degree murder. Jodi Arias was found guilty on May 8, 2013. Second, jurors decide whether there were any aggravating factors. The jury found that the murder was committed in an especially cruel fashion one week later. The third is sentencing. Under Arizona law, Jodi Arias’ murder conviction stands, but prosecutors can pursue a death sentence in the penalty phase with a new jury. If the second jury fails to reach a verdict, the death penalty would be removed as an option. Judge Sherry Stephens would then sentence Jodi Arias to either life behind bars or be eligible for release after 25 years.
Judge Sherry Stephens denied two motions by Jodi Arias to fire her lead attorney, Kirk Nurmi.
Because of the excessive publicity, Jodi Arias attorneys have already filed motions requesting that the sentencing phase of the trial be moved out of the Phoenix area.