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Jodi Arias prosecutors still plan to pursue death penalty
June 13, 2013 / 2:07 AM / 4 years ago

Jodi Arias prosecutors still plan to pursue death penalty

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A top Arizona prosecutor said on Wednesday that the state still plans to seek the death penalty for convicted murderer Jodi Arias for killing her ex-boyfriend, after a jury deadlocked last month on whether she should be executed.

Jodi Arias listens as the verdict for sentencing is read for her first degree murder conviction at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, May 23, 2013. REUTERS/David Wallace/The Arizona Republic/Pool

Arias, a former waitress from California, was found guilty last month of killing Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He had been stabbed 27 times, had his throat slashed and was shot in the face.

But the same eight-man, four-woman jury that convicted Arias of murder and quickly ruled her eligible for the death penalty subsequently failed to reach a consensus as to whether Arias should be executed, prompting a penalty phase mistrial.

The state of Arizona now has the option of retrying the sentencing phase of the trial, which would require a new jury be empanelled. If there is another deadlock, a judge would sentence Arias to natural life in prison, or life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery told reporters prosecutors would ask a new sentencing jury to do what the previous one could not - put Arias to death.

“At this point, we are still preparing to move forward to retry the penalty phase,” Montgomery told a news conference.

After the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on May 23, Montgomery said that his office would assess its next steps, but was proceeding “with the intent to retry the penalty phase.”

A status hearing has been scheduled for June 20. A July 18 court date was set to select a new jury in the case.

The sensational trial began in January, becoming a staple with U.S. cable television viewers with its tale of a soft-spoken young women charged with such a brutal crime. The trial was punctuated with graphic testimony and bloody photographs.

Arias, 32, took the stand for a marathon 18 days and maintained throughout that the killing was in self-defense despite fierce cross-examination by prosecutors.

Editing by Tim Gaynor, Cynthia Johnston and David Brunnstrom

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