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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mistrial In Penalty Phase Of Jodi Arias Trial

By Susan Duclos

In the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial where she was convicted of murdering Travis Alexander, the jury was hung and the penalty phase declared a mistrial:

A Maricopa County Court was unable to agree on a sentence for convicted murderer Jodi Arias, prompting a judge Thursday to declare a mistrial in the sentencing phase of the case.

The jury had deliberated nearly 14 hours over three days to determine if Arias, 32, should be sentenced to life imprisonment or sentenced to death. Judge Sherry Stephens said a new jury would be convened in the case on July 18. Arias, who was in tears earlier, breathed a sigh of relief.

The guilty verdict against Arias came down May 8. A week later, the same jury found that the murder was especially cruel, making Arias eligible for the death penalty. During the sentencing hearing, Arias pleaded for mercy, saying she would live a valuable life in prison.

If the prosecution chooses not to retry the penalty phase, Arias will get life in prison, either with or without parole.

The prosecutor's office has not announced what it plans to do.

ABC News:

"We appreciate the jury's work in the guilt and aggravation phases of the trial and now we will assess, based upon available information, what the next steps will be," Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a written statement. "As of this point in time, the court has set a status conference for June 20 and we will proceed with the intent to retry the penalty phase. Because, for purposes of a jury determination on punishment, this is still a pending matter, there will be no further comment."

Reactions are mixed throughout the Arizona on whether the prosecutions office should retry the penalty phase or offer a deal of life without parole if they take the death penalty off the table, saving the taxpayers the cost of retrying the penalty phase.