After five months of analyzing the gruesome evidence and listening to witness testimony, the jury's decision was indecision, and the Jodi Arias murder case was declared a mistrial. In a case that has garnered media attention not only throughout Arizona, but nationwide, this news is shocking. Arias was convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend at his home in Mesa, but the jury could not decide whether her sentence should be life imprisonment or the death penalty.
The jury deliberated for over three days, and a tense three days at that. The judge set a retrial for July 18th. In the event of a mistrial, there must be an entirely new case. A new set of jurors must now sit through the evidence in order to come to a conclusion on how to sentence Arias.
One of the jurors spoke out a few days after the mistrial was declared, stating his belief that the prosecutor verbally abused Arias while she was on the stand which, by the way, lasted 18 days, longer than most defendants are called upon to testify. This was just one of the many factors that led to a mistrial, said the juror.
Five years ago, Arias hunted down her ex-boyfriend, stabbed him nearly 30 times, slit his throat and shot him in the head in what was described as a jealous rage after she learned he was about to take a trip to Cancun with another woman. Arias claimed that she killed him in self-defense. Arias' testimony largely contradicted DNA evidence as well as witness testimony.
Because of the mistrial, prosecutors now have a choice. They could take the death penalty as an option off of the table, meaning there would not have to be a new trial. If the prosecutors choose this avenue, then the judge would decide Arias' sentencing: life imprisonment or 25 years with the possibility of parole.
If the death penalty remains as a sentencing option, then the process of choosing an entirely new jury would proceed. In cases that attract much media attention such as this, it is difficult to choose jurors who are still impartial. Even the casual news watcher has likely formed some opinion about Arias.
The trial that originally began on December 10, 2012 in Maricopa County Superior Court is still awaiting a conclusion. The death penalty is a sentencing option for anyone convicted of first-degree murder. While, in May 2013, the jury voted that Arias was indeed eligible for the death penalty, they could not arrive at a conclusion regarding whether or not it should be applied in her case.