Arizona judge rejects bid to spare murderer Jodi Arias from death

PHOENIX Fri Feb 7, 2014 6:32pm EST

Jodi Arias talks with her defense attorney Jennifer Wilmott (L), during a hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic/Pool

Jodi Arias talks with her defense attorney Jennifer Wilmott (L), during a hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, July 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic/Pool

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona judge has rejected a bid by convicted murderer Jodi Arias to be spared the death penalty in the 2008 slaying of her ex-boyfriend, according to court papers made public on Friday.

Maricopa Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens said in a ruling that defense attorneys were wrong in claiming that a state law that allows for Arias to face a second penalty phase was unconstitutional and represented cruel and unusual punishment.

Arias, 33, was convicted by a jury in May 2013 of murdering Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his suburban Phoenix home in June 2008. He had been stabbed multiple times, shot in the face and slashed in the throat.

But the jury deadlocked on whether the former California waitress should be executed or face life in prison.

In a three-page ruling, Stephens made it clear the death penalty was still a possibility when a new jury reconvenes on March 17 for a second penalty phase of the trial.

"Defendant has not been 'acquitted' of the death sentence by the jury's failure to reach a verdict, and thus there is no constitutional bar to retrying the penalty phase," Stephens wrote.

The judge's ruling came down on Wednesday but was released on Friday.

The five-month trial was punctuated with graphic testimony, bloody photographs and sexual revelations. Arias maintained the killing was in self-defense.

If there is another jury deadlock on the question of sentencing, a judge would sentence Arias to natural life in prison or life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Leslie Adler)

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Comments (4)
UrDrighten wrote:
Considering the fervent way that Arizonans run around in public carrying large caliber pistols, I’m surprised the law doesn’t allow the judge to personally shoot Arias right there in the courtroom, skipping years of appeals and incarceration.

Feb 11, 2014 10:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
wingding19999 wrote:
She deserves it … get on with it.

Feb 12, 2014 9:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
JoeSanDiego wrote:
UrDrighten, If only it were that easy for the Judge to just shoot her on the spot. I think they ought to sell lottery tickets for the right to shoot her. The five winners all get a rifle, and two get blanks, three get live bullets. Rifle shot from a bench, through a scope. No Misses, instant death. Use the money from the lottery to pay for the Court Proceedings.

Feb 13, 2014 4:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
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