Life or death? Jodi Arias penalty jury to resume deliberations

Jodi Arias jury to resume deliberations on whether she should be put to death

The Arizona jurors who will decide whether Jodi Arias should be put to death will resume deliberations Monday.

The jury began deliberating Arias' fate Wednesday afternoon after hearing both sides' closing statements the day before. They continued their work in Maricopa County Superior Court on Thursday but did not meet on Friday.

Arias, now 34, shot and stabbed Travis Alexander, a onetime boyfriend whom prosecutors say she killed in a jealous rage in June 2008. A previous jury convicted her of murder in 2013 but could not agree on whether to impose capital punishment. That is what the current jury is weighing: whether Arias lives or dies. 

The attractive young couple had a perfect story for true-crime dramas: They were outwardly devout Mormons with a tempestuous life behind closed doors that was revealed to the first jury in graphic detail, including about their sex life, via recorded phone calls and text messages. Arias claimed self-defense and said Alexander had subjected her to physical and sexual abuse.

Arias, whose murder trial drew nationwide attention, has been in a state of legal limbo since 2013, when the first jury convicted her but failed to resolve the sentence.

In October, a new jury in Phoenix began hearing prosecutors' case for a death sentence. The sentencing trial ran five months, about the length of the original trial. That trial was a media circus, leading television newscasts, inspiring quickly published ebooks and prompting online arguments between her supporters and detractors.

In closing arguments before the jury last week, defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said that the abuse Arias suffered under Alexander, her clean criminal record and her struggle with mental illness should persuade jurors to spare her life.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez has urged jurors to look past the attempts at mitigating her culpability for the crime.

Martinez said the case wasn’t one of love gone wrong, but simple murder, a brutal slaying punishable by death.

Arias stabbed Alexander nearly 30 times and shot him in the forehead. She slit his throat and dragged his body into the shower, where friends found it about five days later.

Arias at first claimed that two men attacked the couple and killed Alexander. She admitted two years after her initial denial that she had killed him, claiming self-defense.

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