The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

May 23, 2013

Jurors deadlock on Jodi Arias penalty; retrial set

PHOENIX — Jurors who spent five months determining Jodi Arias' fate couldn't decide whether she should get life in prison or die for murdering her boyfriend, sending prosecutors back to the drawing board to rehash the shocking case of sex, lies and violence to another 12 people.

Judge Sherry Stephens gave a heavy sigh as she announced a mistrial in the penalty phase of the case Thursday and scheduled a July 18 retrial.

"This was not your typical trial," she told jurors. "You were asked to perform some very difficult duties."

The panel then filed out of the courtroom after 13 hours of deliberation that spanned three days, with one female juror turning to the victim's family and mouthing, "Sorry." She and two other women on the jury were crying.

None of the jurors commented as they left court.

The mistrial set the stage for a whole new proceeding to determine whether the 32-year-old former waitress should get a life sentence or the death penalty for murdering Travis Alexander five years ago. He was shot and stabbed nearly 30 times — his throat slit ear to ear — in what prosecutors said was a jealous rage because he wanted to date other people.

A new jury will be seated to try again to reach a decision on Arias' sentence — unless the prosecutor takes execution off the table and agrees to a life term. Jury selection for the next phase could take weeks, given the difficulty of seating an impartial jury in a death penalty case that has attracted global attention.

Arias, who first said she wanted to die and later pleaded to the jury for her life, looked visibly upset about the mistrial and sobbed before it was announced. Her family didn't attend Thursday but has been present for much of the trial.

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