May 23, 2013

Arias jury unable to decide life or death; mistrial declared

The Associated Press

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A friend of the Alexander family reacts as the sentencing for the first degree murder conviction of Jodi Arias is declared a hung jury at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Ariz., on Thursday, May 23, 2013. The jury in Jodi Arias’ murder trial was dismissed Thursday after failing to reach a verdict against the woman they convicted of murdering her one-time boyfriend in a case that captured headlines worldwide with its sex, lies, violence. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace, Pool)

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Jodi Arias listens as the verdict for sentencing is read for her first degree murder conviction at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Ariz., on Thursday, May 23, 2013. The jury in Jodi Arias' trial was dismissed Thursday after failing to reach a unanimous decision on whether the woman they convicted of murdering her one-time boyfriend should be sentenced to life or death in a case that has captured headlines worldwide with its sex, lies, violence. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace, Pool)

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That night, Arias gave a series of media interviews from jail, telling reporters out about her many fights with her legal team and her belief that she "deserves a second chance at freedom someday."

Arias, 32, contends she killed Alexander in self-defense when he became enraged after a day of sex, forcing her to fight for her life. Prosecutors say she attacked him in a jealous rage because he wanted to end their relationship and go to Mexico with another woman.

Her case became a sensation from the beginning as Arias gave a series of jailhouse interviews following her 2008 arrest in which she blamed the killing on armed, masked intruders.

She went on trial in January, and the case provided endless amounts of cable TV and tabloid fodder, including a recorded phone sex call between Arias and the victim, nude photos, bloody crime-scene pictures and a defendant who described her life story in intimate detail over 18 days on the witness stand.

The former waitress told jurors of an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, her sexual relationship with Alexander, and her contention that he had grown physically violent.

The trial was streamed live on the Internet and became a real-life soap opera to people around the globe. Some even traveled to Phoenix to attend the trial and became fans of the fiery prosecutor, Juan Martinez, who repeatedly tangled with Arias during her testimony. They sought his autograph outside court and had pictures taken with him, prompting the defense to argue for a mistrial. Their request was denied.

The trial's penalty phase also featured dramatic statements by Alexander's sister and brother as they described how their lives were shattered by the loss of their beloved sibling.

Alexander, 30, overcame a tough upbringing in Southern California to become a successful businessman at a legal insurance company and a source of inspiration to his colleagues, his friends at his Mormon church and his family.

The judge had told jurors they could consider a handful of factors when deciding Arias' sentence, including the fact that she has no previous criminal record. They also could weigh defense assertions that Arias is a good friend and a talented artist.

Arias found it difficult to resist the spotlight throughout her case. She spoke to a Fox affiliate minutes after her conviction, and did a series of jailhouse interviews just hours after the jury got the case in the penalty phase.

"The prosecutor has accused me of wanting to be famous, which is not true," Arias told the AP on Tuesday in an interview where she combed her hair beforehand and wore makeup for the cameras. She also insisted that no images be transmitted of her from the waist down, showing her striped jail pants and shackled ankles.

Arias' attorneys tried without success to withdraw from the case several times during the trial, once after Arias gave her post-conviction TV interview, and another in the middle of her sentencing phase.

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Additional Photos

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Jodi Arias stands as the jury enters the courtroom on Wednesday during the penalty phase of her murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.

The Associated Press

  


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