Jury to decide on execution for Arias
Phoenix — Jurors in Phoenix will once again be asked to decide whether Jodi Arias should be executed for the gruesome murder of her former boyfriend.
Lawyers are expected to make opening statements Tuesday at the sentencing retrial, more than a year after a jury found her guilty of killing Travis Alexander in June 2008. The first jury deadlocked on whether to sentence her to life imprisonment or death.
A new jury that was picked over the past several weeks will be sworn in as the former waitress tries to make another case that her life should be spared. They won’t consider whether or not she’s guilty - that’s already been decided.
The retrial is expected to last into December.
Here are five things to know about the case:
Arias stabbed and slashed Alexander nearly 30 times, slit his throat so deeply she nearly decapitated him and shot him in the forehead. She left his body in his shower where friends found him about five days later at his suburban Phoenix home.
She acknowledged she killed Alexander, but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her. Prosecutors said it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.
Weeks after Arias was convicted, the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on her punishment. Her attorneys have since sought, unsuccessfully, to dismiss the death penalty as an option.
If another deadlock occurs, the death penalty would automatically be removed as an option, leaving a judge to sentence Arias to one of two options: life in prison or life in prison with the possibility of release after 25 years.
The sentencing retrial will be a mini-trial of sorts to get a fresh jury up to speed on the case.
Four hundred people were called as prospective jurors. Many of them were cut after they said they either made up their minds about the case or knew too much to be impartial. Some jurors cited their objection to the death penalty.
At her last trial, she testified for 18 days, describing for jurors an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, a shocking sexual relationship with Alexander, and her contention that he was physically abusive. Her first trial drew a global following and inspired spectators to wait in line in the middle of the night to get a coveted seat in the courtroom. This time around, the judge has ruled that cameras can record the proceedings, but nothing can be broadcast until after the verdict.
The costs of defending Arias have topped $2.5 million and will mount during a second penalty phase. Prosecutors have declined to provide their costs to try the case.
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