Last night the judge declared a mistrial over the sentencing of Jodi Arias after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict over whether or not she should be executed for murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.
The jury was dismissed from the courtroom after spending five months on the case, and while they did decide that Jodi Arias was guilty of the premeditated murder of Travis Alexander, they could not decide whether she should spend life in prison or be put to death.
The next step in the lengthy trial will now come on July 18, when an entirely new jury panel is determined and tasked with delivering the final verdict in the case.
The scene in the Phoenix, Arizona courtroom on Thursday afternoon – when the jury came back to the judge with their inability to agree – was not one of relief.
Jodi Arias herself looked upset and began crying, though not necessarily tears of joy.
Travis Alexander’s siblings, who have been a constant presence throughout and have all uprooted their lives in California to focus on the trial, were all crying as well.
One female juror was at least sympathetic to them, and she was seen mouthing the word “sorry” toward the Alexanders.
Judge Sherry Stephens, who showed some tough love to the jury yesterday, was very complimentary to them today.
“This was not your typical trial. You were asked to perform some very difficult duties,” she said.
The jury began deliberating Tuesday, and on Wednesday afternoon they told the Judge that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Sherry Stephens ordered the jurors to go back and talk more until they came to a decision, but that was still not enough time as they came back later yesterday afternoon still at an impasse.
The new jury will not have any power to change Jodi Arias’ guilty conviction, and they will be solely tasked with determining how she will “pay” for the first degree murder.
The decision follows a trial that has staggered on for five months over the 2008 sl**ing of Travis Alexander, Jodi Arias’ on-again off-again boyfriend who she killed in his home in 2008. She sta**ed him nearly 30 times, s**t his throat, and shot him.
Even for the most fastidious of court followers who have developed a sense of who Jodi Arias, 32, is over the past five months of the trial, her behavior in the past week has been confusing as she gave conflicting statements about her desire thoughts on a possible death sentence.
Immediately after her guilty verdict was handed down two weeks ago, Jodi Arias granted a local news station an interview where she said that she was “in shock” and that she would rather be given the death penalty as opposed to a life sentence in prison.
Speaking to the local Fox affiliate KSAZ, Jodi Arias said that she would “prefer to die sooner than later”.
“Longevity runs in my family, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place. I’m pretty healthy, I don’t smoke and I’ll probably live for a long time so that’s not something that I am looking forward to.
“I believe death is the ultimate freedom and I’d rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
Those comments prompted courthouse officials to order that Jodi Arias will be placed in a psychological hold and on suicide watch, which inevitably delayed the second portion of the sentencing- where jurors were forced to decide if the murder was especially aggressive.
During the ensuing testimony, called the aggravation portion of the trial, jurors heard from both sides who were able to call witnesses arguing that she should and shouldn’t be forced to die, respectively.
When Jodi Arias addressed the court in her own defense, she pledged, if allowed to live, to donate her hair to cancer patients and start a prison recycling program.
“I have made many public statements that I would prefer the death penalty to life in prison,” Jodi Arias told jurors.
“In each of those cases, I lacked perspective,” she said.
“Until very recently I could not imagine standing before you all and asking for you to give me life,” Jodi Arias said.
“But as I stand here now I cannot in good conscience ask you to sentence me to death.”