Jodi Arias sentencing: Jurors deadlocked on life or death, mistrial declared

New trial scheduled for July

PHOENIX - Jurors have deadlocked on a verdict of life or death for Jodi Arias in the 2008 killing of her one-time boyfriend.
 
The judge declared a mistrial in the penalty phase. Another panel will be seated and the sentencing process will begin anew in July.

The jury found Arias guilty of first-degree murder May 8 and later determined the killing was cruel enough to merit consideration of the death penalty.

Arias earlier pleaded with jurors to spare her life. She said she "lacked perspective" when she told a reporter after her conviction that she preferred execution to spending the rest of her days in prison.

Arias says she killed Travis Alexander in self-defense. Prosecutors contend she did it in a jealous rage.

A legal source told 10News Scripps sister station KNXV if a re-trial of the penalty phase is necessary, that could provide the Arias defense team with the opportunity they have been seeking to be relieved from their role as her counsel.

If that were to occur, a new defense attorney would have to be appointed, and that person would need potentially months to get caught up on the case.

Several more steps are possible in the jury's decision process. Check out the process below.

SENTENCE: Jurors have two choices: life in prison or execution. They are allowed to weigh multiple factors in coming to a decision, including Arias' upbringing, her lack of a prior criminal record, her artistic skills and her age.

LIFE: If the sentence is life, Judge Stephens has two options in imposing the term. She can send Arias to prison for the remainder of her life with no chance of release -- or make her eligible for release after 25 years. It's not known if the judge will make the decision immediately or set a later date for the formal sentencing.

DEATH: If the sentence is death, Arias' case will automatically be appealed under Arizona law. It's a process that takes years to play out, and Arias says she would continue to appeal such a sentence until she has exhausted all of her options. Only then could she be executed.

JUDGE: The jury's decision is final. Judges in some states have the authority to override a jury's sentence decision, but Stephens made it clear to the jury Tuesday: "You will determine whether the defendant will be sentenced to life in prison or death. Your decision is not a recommendation."

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