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Mistrial declared in Jodi Arias penalty phase

May 23, 2013 at 8:05 PM   |   Comments

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PHOENIX, May 23 (UPI) -- A mistrial was declared Thursday after the jury in the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial couldn't agree on the death penalty or life in prison.

Arizona state law mandates the Maricopa County District Attorney's Office must decide whether to seek a new jury if the original one can't reach a unanimous decision. If a new jury is not sought, Arias will be sentenced to life in prison, ABC News reported.

"If state decides to retry with new jury, they get a new chance, but one more chance only to convince jury to impose death sentence," prosecutor's office spokesman Jerry Cobb said.

"The facts and evidence presented in the guilt phase would be brought out and presented to jury, but the jury would be told that the defendant was found guilty and here is the evidence. It would be a shorter version of the original trial," Cobb said.

Arias initially said she wanted the death penalty for killing boyfriend Travis Alexander because she couldn't imagine spending the rest of her life in one place. Now she's changed her mind and has pleaded for her life, promising to be a constructive member of society from prison.

She said she would teach her fellow inmates to read, Spanish, American Sign Language and would encourage them to contribute to Locks of Love and recycle.

"Some of those might sound very trivial," Arias said, "but I've never been to prison. I don't know how much is available there ... and how much change I can effect."

Arias attorney Jennifer Willmot said the death penalty should not be applied because Arias was abused by Alexander and because she had no criminal record.

Alexander's body was found June 4, 2008, in the shower of his home with 27 stab wounds, his throat slashed and a gunshot wound to his face.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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