An Arizona jury weighing whether Jodi Arias should be put to death for the brutal murder of her ex-boyfriend deadlocked on Thursday and the judge ordered a retrial of the penalty phase of the case.
Arias, a former waitress from California, was found guilty this month in the murder of Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He was stabbed 27 times, had his throat slashed and was shot in the face.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens, who told the jury on Wednesday to resume deliberations after the panel indicated it was struggling to reach consensus, declared a mistrial and ordered a retrial of the penalty phase of the case on July 18.
The four-month-long trial in Phoenix included graphic testimony and photographs, and attracted the attention of U.S. television audiences with its tale of a soft-spoken young woman charged with an unspeakable crime.
Arias, 32, had argued the killing was in self-defense and characterized her relationship with 30-year-old Alexander as abusive. She had pleaded with jurors to spare her the death penalty for the sake of her family, and to sentence her, instead, to life in prison.
The jury had been given a clarification on Wednesday on whether a life sentence meant Arias would spend the rest of her life in prison or whether she could face the possibility of parole.
Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott told jurors that if they sentenced Arias to life in prison, they were “sentencing her to die in prison,” and there was no procedure in place to grant parole after 25 years.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez countered that while there was no mechanism now to grant Arias parole, one could be put in place later.
During her trial, Arias said she had killed Alexander in self-defense after he attacked her because she dropped his camera while taking snapshots of him in the shower. She said she did not remember stabbing him.