Jodi Arias Trial Update: Jurors Weigh Death Penalty
Jodi Arias has expressed a preference for the death penalty
Jodi Arias' murder trial resumed today for the "aggravation phase," in which the jurors were presented evidence to decide whether or not the convicted murderer should be subjected to the death penalty.
Juan Martinez and the prosecution attempted to convince the jury that Arias’ premeditated murder of Travis Alexander in 2008, which included nearly 30 stab wounds, deserves the death penalty. If the jury decides that Alexander’s murder was especially cruel, that would be the expected sentencing for Arias.
The jury heard roughly two hours of testimony and arguments from witnesses and the trial's lawyers. They’ve now entered deliberation to decide if Arias’ murder of Alexander was in fact "especially cruel." If they agree that it was, they will enter the phase of the trial where they'll consider her penalty.
Martinez tried to paint a picture of Alexander’s grizzly murder for the jury, conjuring up images of each step – the repeated stabbings, the gunshot wound, his collapse in the bathroom. "The last thing he saw before he lapsed into unconsciousness … was that blade coming to his throat," Martinez said. "And the last thing he felt before he left this earth was pain."
The defense, which declined to call witnesses to the stand, offered the suggestion that Alexander may not have felt much pain during the lengthy attack due the amount of adrenaline rushing through his veins.
Arias, for her part, has expressed a desire to get the death penalty for her murder of Alexander. Moments after her conviction last Wednesday, she told Fox affiliate KSAZ, “Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place. I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."
Ultimately, Arias’ fate is out of her hands. If the jury decides to sentence her to the death penalty, the judge is obligated to see the sentencing through. If the jury declines to sentence Arias to death, it will be up to the judge to determine if the convicted murderer will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole, or a minimum of 25 years with the possibility of release.
The jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder last Wednesday after 15 hours of deliberation, and over four months since the trial began.