Will Jodi Arias Get The Death Penalty? Her Sentencing Retrial Is Nearly Here
That's right — she's back. Convicted killer Jodi Arias is returning to the courtroom, preparing to learn her fate over the 2008 killing of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Arias was convicted of first-degree murder back in 2013, but the process of sentencing her for the crime has taken a long while. Her May 2013 penalty phase ended with a hung jury, and it's taken well over a year of legal wrangling before the retrial. But now, it's finally upon us — the Jodi Arias death penalty retrial is approaching, and once selected, the jury will have the ultimate choice on their hands. Will they approve the death penalty?
The details of the killing of which Arias was convicted are grisly, to say the least. Alexander was found slain in the shower of his Arizona apartment, having suffered multiple injuries including knife wounds, a gunshot to the head, and a slit throat. Arias was charged with murder, and while she argued that the killing was an act of self-defense — she said Alexander had been physically, sexually and emotionally abusive throughout their relationship, and the night of his death had flown into a violent rage when she dropped his camera — the jury ultimately rejected that claim.
While Arias maintained she was forced to fatally shoot Alexander, she also claimed she had no memory of the knife wounds, slitting his throat, and escaping from the scene. Her version of events was critically undermined by the testimony of medical examiner Dr. Kevin Horn, who described Alexander's wounds as "defensive," and suggested that the shot to head may have come after he was already dead, due to a lack of hemorrhaging in his brain.
What The Jury Will Decide Between
At this juncture, the potential outcomes for Arias are as clear-cut as they come. A jury will have to decide whether she'll be executed or sentenced to life in prison. In the immediate aftermath of her conviction, Arias made her preference clear — she said she'd rather be killed than spend all that time behind bars, as she told local Fox affiliate KSAZ.
Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place. I believe death is the ultimate freedom and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it.
She's since recanted that stance, and tried to have the death penalty taken off the table before her first sentencing trial, to no avail. There may also be some tension between herself and her attorney, Kirk Nurmi. Arias tried to fire Nurmi last year, alleging he had an "utter poverty of people skills," and "no tolerance" for her emotional shortcomings, according to CBS News, but the court refused. She was extended the chance to represent herself instead, but she apparently thought better of it, and kept him on.
Women Are Very Rarely Sentenced To Death
It'll be interesting to see what the jury rules, assuming they don't deadlock like last time. The number of women actually serving time on death row as compared to men is minuscule — as of 2013, according to the NAACP, women comprised under 3 percent of America's death row population. In short, it's clear that this isn't a punishment placed upon women very often, so it's truly hard to predict how things will turn out.
But for Arias, the goal is simple enough: dodge the death penalty and roll the dice. If the second jury is unable to unanimously agree on the death sentence, then that option will be pulled off the table altogether, according to ABC News, and a judge will decide whether to sentence her to life in prison, or to grant possibility of parole after 25 years.