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Jodi Arias won’t be sentenced to death after jury deadlocks

March 5, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) — Convicted murderer Jodi Arias was spared the death penalty Thursday after jurors deadlocked on her punishment for killing her lover in 2008, meaning her sentence will be at most life in prison.

Arias’ 2013 trial became a sensation with its tawdry revelations about her relationship with victim Travis Alexander and that she shot him in the head and slit his throat so deeply that he was nearly decapitated.

It was broadcast live and TV audiences heard how Arias had stabbed and slashed Alexander nearly 30 times then left his body in his shower at his suburban Phoenix home, where friends found him about five days later.

Jurors said Thursday that they were 11-1 in favor of the death penalty and tried unsuccessfully to get the lone holdout kicked off the panel.

One male juror said he was angry, saying the female holdout indicated that the death penalty would be a form of revenge. The woman did not talk to reporters, and none of the jurors who did would give their names.

The deadlock means the judge will sentence Arias on April 13 to either life in prison or a life term with the possibility of release after 25 years.

Family members of victim Travis Alexander wept when the judge said jurors couldn’t reach a decision. They sobbed as they left the courtroom, with one covering her eyes as she walked out.

Attorney Jay Beckstead issued a statement from Alexander’s brothers and sisters that they “are saddened by the jury’s inability to reach a decision on the death penalty, however, we understand the difficulty of the decision, and have nothing but respect for the jury’s time.”

The siblings said they appreciated the outpouring of support from the public but requested privacy.

It marked the second time a jury was unable to reach a decision on Arias’ punishment — a disappointment for prosecutors who argued for the death penalty during the nearly seven-year legal battle.

The jury convicted her of first-degree murder but deadlocked on punishment, prompting the sentencing retrial that began in October.

Prosecutors say Arias killed Alexander as revenge because he wanted to date other women and was planning a trip to Mexico with his latest love interest.

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told jurors that Arias deserves a second chance because she was the victim of verbal and physical abuse throughout her life.

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