Jodi Arias says feels betrayed; jury weighs death penalty

Jodi Arias addresses the jury during the penalty phase of her murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic/Pool
Jodi Arias addresses the jury during the penalty phase of her murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic/Pool

Convicted killer Jodi Arias feels betrayed by an Arizona jury that found her guilty of murder in the brutal slaying of an ex-boyfriend, according to an interview aired on Wednesday as that same jury weighed whether to sentence her to death.

Arias, 32, was found guilty earlier this month in the murder of Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He was stabbed 27 times, had his throat slashed and was shot in the face.

The murder trial, which featured graphic testimony and photographs, became a sensation on U.S. cable television with its story of an attractive, intelligent and soft-spoken young woman charged with an unthinkable crime.

In an interview with ABC that aired on its “Good Morning America” program on Wednesday, Arias said she felt betrayed by the jury, which quickly found her eligible for capital punishment and will now decide her sentence.

“I feel a little betrayed by them. I don’t dislike them; I was just really hoping they would see things for what they are, and I don’t feel that they did,” she said.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens asked the jury on Tuesday afternoon to begin deliberations on a sentence for Arias following closing arguments in the penalty phase of her trial.

The jury reconvened on Wednesday after failing to reach a verdict on Tuesday afternoon. If the jury is unable to reach a unanimous decision, a new jury would be impaneled to determine whether the death penalty should be imposed.

In an at-times tearful appeal on Tuesday, Arias pleaded with jurors to spare her the death penalty for the sake of her family and sentence her instead to life in prison.

TAKING IT DAY-BY-DAY

As a penalty phase verdict loomed, Arias told the Arizona Republic newspaper late on Tuesday that she was not going to “think too much” about it, but would just “take what’s coming to me.”

Should the jury impose a death sentence, she said she would wait for the mandatory appeals process “just taking it day by day.”

As deliberations got under way on Wednesday, the panel was given clarification on whether a life sentence meant natural life in prison for Arias or included the possibility of parole.

Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott told the panel if they sentenced Arias to life in prison, they are “sentencing her to die in prison,” saying that there was no procedure in place to grant parole after 25 years.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez countered that just because there was no mechanism now didn’t mean there never would be.

“It doesn’t say that automatically if you say life it’s going to be a natural life sentence,” he said.

During her trial, Arias admitted killing Alexander but said she had acted in self-defense after he attacked her. She also characterized her relationship with Alexander as physically and emotionally abusive.

“To this day, I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence, but I know that I was, and for that I’m going to be sorry for the rest of my life … I was horrified by what I had done, and I am horrified still,” Arias told jurors on Tuesday.

She also told them she could lead a productive life in prison, and mentioned that while behind bars she had already donated her long hair to a charity that provides wigs to children, including cancer patients, suffering from hair loss.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Jennifer Willmott walked jurors through eight mitigating factors – among them that Arias had suffered abuse, had no criminal history and was 27 at the time of the murder – and urged them to show mercy.

Martinez countered that there were no documented reports to corroborate Arias’ claims of abuse and urged the jury to return a death sentence.


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