Jodi Arias, the Arizona woman accused of murdering her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008, may be getting a new jury to decide her fate.
Arias was convicted of first-degree murder in May after admitting that she killed Alexander, but only in self defense. Alexander was found with over 30 stab wounds, a gunshot to the head, and a slit throat; just minutes before he died, he and Arias were engaged in sexual activities, some of which she captured on her camera (the camera was found tossed into a washing machine in the home). The photos showed Alexander in the shower, alive one minute and dead the next. Alexander, Arias said, was abusive to her after they began arguing.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez asked the jury to return a verdict of first degree murder because it carries the death penalty.
“The state is asking that you return a verdict of guilty, a verdict of first degree murder, not just premeditated murder, but also felony murder, for no other reason than it’s your duty, and the facts and the law support it,” Martinez said in his closing arguments.
However, in order to give the death penalty, the jury has to come to the conclusion that the victim died in an “exceptionally cruel” way, and Arias’ lawyers will argue today that the definition of that term is too vague for jurors to come to a decision. Now, prosecutors will have to decide whether to take the death penalty off the table altogether–which means Arias will either get life in prison or 25 years, according to the judge’s discretion–or pull together a new panel of jurors and pursue it, which could take months and will cost the taxpayers even more. So far, Arias’ court time has cost $1.7 million.