On Thursday, an Arizona judge declared a mistrial in Jodi Arias' sentencing retrial after a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict for her sentence. Arias was found guilty in May 2013 of killing her on-off boyfriend Travis Alexander, but the jury then could not decide on whether to impose the death penalty on her.
The announcement was made in court to the painful sobs of Alexander's family members — who had been hoping for the death sentence — after some 20 minutes of delay. The jury's failure to reach an agreement means that the death penalty is no longer an option in her punishment — but what does that mean for Arias? Under Arizona state law, she cannot be tried again and must be handed a life sentence.
Arias now faces two possibilities: Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens will either sentence her to natural life — which means she will never be released — or decide if Arias will be eligible for parole (though this is not guaranteed) after 25 years in prison. Stephens will announce her sentence on April 13.
Alexander was found dead in the bathroom of his Arizona home in June 2008 with nearly 30 stab wounds, a bullet through the head, and an open throat that nearly decapitated him. His body was only discovered five days after his death, and Arias was an immediate suspect in his murder. Her 2013 trial quickly became a media sensation for the tawdry details she revealed about their relationship. A jury subsequently found her guilty of first-degree murder, but could not come to a consensus on whether to sentence her to death or not — prompting the sentencing retrial, nearly two years after the start of her trial.
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