Crime

Jodi Arias Jury Done -- No Decision on Death Penalty; Mistrial of Penalty Phase Declared; State Wants to Retry

Jury members in the Jodi Arias case wrapped up nearly five months of work today, causing a mistrial due to their failure to reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty.

Some women jurors were crying and one even said "sorry" to the family of slaying victim Travis Alexander, according to a tweet by Wild About Trial.

Next up in this long-running saga: The state will decide whether to be satisfied with a sentence of life in prison for Arias, or retry the penalty phase.

See also - Jodi Arias Asks Jury to Spare Her Life So Her Family Isn't Hurt; No Apology to Victim's Family, No Tears

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement today that he is going for the retry:

"We appreciate the jury's work in the guilt and aggravation phases of the trial and now we will assess, based upon available information, what the next steps will be. As of this point in time, the Court has set a Status Conference for June 20 and we will proceed with the intent to retry the penalty phase. Because, for purposes of a jury determination on punishment, this is still a pending matter, there will be no further comment."

If the state decides not to move forward with a new penalty phase, Judge Sherry Stephens would sentence Arias to life in prison.

For now, it means Arias won't be moving just yet from county jail to a cell in a state prison. Maybe she'll let less-than-friendly reporters interview her -- she'll be jonesing for some airtime, no doubt.

It also means some jury members will soon be granting interviews -- that'll be interesting. These folks have dedicated about five months of their lives to Jodi Arias.

Millions of viewers worldwide are feeling relieved or disappointed at this outcome, which follows the jury's indecision following their May 8 conviction of Arias for first-degree premeditated murder.

Arguably, the mistrial is the biggest surprise of the entire case. The facts of the investigation showed that Arias planned the murder before she killed the 30-year-old Alexander, so a first-degree murder conviction was a good bet.

Whether or not to execute Arias, now 32, for the crime was always the more subjective decision.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.