Jodi Arias’ Retrial Judge Denies Media AccessBy: Courtney Wills - November 17, 2013
Jodi Arias, now 33, was convicted in May of first-degree murder for the 2008 grisly slaying of her boyfriend, 30-year-old Travis Alexander. Alexander’s body was found in his Mesa, Arizona home five days after he had been killed, by worried friends and roommates. Alexander had fatally suffered thirty stab wounds, gunshot wound to the head, and a gruesome throat-slashing. Arias relied on the claim of self-defense, citing Alexander’s attack on her at the time of the murder.
However, the jury that convicted Arias was unable to unanimously decide on either the death penalty, or life without parole. The prosecution has now filed for a retrial in the case, to try and sway another jury to sentence Arias to death.
In Arizona, the law allows for two trials in the sentencing phase of a murder case; if the prosecution fails to achieve a death penalty in the first conviction, they may file a motion for a retrial. If the second trial results in a jury not reaching a conclusion, though, the judge presiding over the case then makes the decision. The law states that the judge must choose between a life-sentence without the possibility of parole, or, a sentence which would allow for the convicted to be released after serving 25 years.
Arias’ defense team will again try and save the woman’s life at a new trial that could, very possibly, result in a unanimous decision to sentence Jodi Arias to death. A few of the jurors from the first trial have spoken out about both their decision to convict, but also, their inability to reach a determination as to punishment.
Juror Diane Schwartz told CBS News’ Crimesider, “In deliberations, when we went through the autopsy pictures and I actually held them in my hands, that’s when I really felt it was a death penalty case.” She also speculated the the reason the group could not come to a conclusion on the death penalty was because of the “‘mitigating cicumstances'” the defense presented during the trial. In Arizona, sentencing a killer to death calls for a lack of any mitigating circumstances. The state of Arizona defines this as, “any aspect of a defendant’s character, propensities on record and any of the circumstances of the offense.” At trial, the defense team claimed eight mitigating circumstances, citing Arias’ age at the time of the killing, ‘artistic ability’ and tormented childhood.
Eight of the original jurors voted for death, while four remained fixated on the sentence of life in prison without parole. However, the new jury will not be subject to all of the testimony and evidence the first jury was witness to throughout the four-month-long trial, but instead, a shortened version of what happened.
Alexander had recently broken up with Arias, and was set for an upcoming vacation to Mexico with another woman. Alexander’s friends and roommates, who found Alexander’s body five days after the brutal incident, named Arias to the police at the first of the investigation, saying she had been known to stalk Travis and had even cut his tires.
Arias’ defense team made a motion that the retrial be held outside of the country, but that was denied by the presiding judge, Sherry Stephens. The team states that it will be nearly impossible to find twelve unbiased jurors, especially with the media coverage of the first trial, which allowed complete television coverage from inside the courtroom for the duration. However, Judge Stephens says that this time, no media will be allowed inside the courtroom, and she will be banning all electronic devices. Stephens said that she plans to summon 400 potential jurors to be analyzed for potential participation.
Main image courtesy whatchutalkinbout via YouTube.