Jodi Arias’ life spared in penalty phase retrial after hung jury

Mar 5, 2015, 10:07 AM | Updated: 1:35 pm
LISTEN: Defense attorney Kurt Nurmi on second Arias mistrial

PHOENIX — Convicted killer Jodi Arias’s life was spared Thursday after a jury again failed to issue a verdict in her penalty phase retrial.

As Judge Sherry Stephens read the decision, sobbing could be heard from the gallery.

The jury split was 11-1 in favor of the death penalty, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.

The family of Travis Alexander released a statement shortly after the announcement.

The jury deliberated for more than 26 hours but was unable to come to a unanimous decision after being handed the case last week. Judge Stephens urged the deadlocked jury earlier this week to come to a decision.

Arias will be placed in solitary confinement in a maximum security facility. She could work her way into the general population based on good behavior.

Arias would be able to meet with her lawyers for appeals and other legal issues.

Stephens has not determined if Arias will be eligible for parole after 25 years. A hearing was scheduled for April 13.

Arias was found guilty nearly two years ago in the 2008 killing her ex-boyfriend, Alexander.

Jurors originally had the option of convicting Arias of second-degree murder, which would have carried a lesser sentence between 10 and 22 years. Instead, jurors were unable to reach a verdict and a retrial began in late October.

During the retrial, there were numerous speed bumps. Five jurors were excused, Stephens forced the media to leave the courtroom while Arias testified and numerous sidebars brought the trial to a crawl.

Arias changed her stories several times throughout the investigation and trial. Initially, she denied involvement before changing her story two years later, saying she killed Alexander because he attacked her after sex.

Alexander was stabbed 27 times, shot in the head and his throat had been slit.

The sentence comes after a yearslong trial that garnered international attention.

The county Board of Supervisors said as of last week Arias’ defense had cost taxpayers $3.1 million.

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Jodi Arias’ life spared in penalty phase retrial after hung jury