The jury weighing a death sentence for Jodi Arias has ended deliberations for the week and will continue Monday.
The jury began deliberating Arias’ fate Wednesday afternoon after closing statements were delivered Tuesday.
The Maricopa County Superior Court announced the jurors left just after 5 p.m. Thursday.
Arias, whose murder trial drew nationwide attention, has been in a state of legal limbo since 2013, when a jury convicted her of murder but could not agree on a sentence. In October, a new jury in Phoenix began hearing prosecutors’ case for a death sentence.
Arias, now 34, said she suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the man she killed, Travis Alexander, a onetime boyfriend whom prosecutors say she killed in a jealous rage in June 2008.
Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi argued in closing statements this week that the abuse, Arias’ clean criminal record and her struggle with mental illness should persuade jurors to not sentence her to death.
Nurmi repeatedly pointed to pictures of Arias as a girl and younger woman, telling jurors that the death penalty meant they were “killing this girl.”
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. The jury had deliberated about three hours Wednesday.
Her first trial was a media circus, leading television newscasts and inspiring quickly published ebooks. Supporters and opponents argued about her case online, and some turned out for the reading of her verdict in 2013.
Lifetime network will air a movie about Arias on Saturday.
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.
The slaying was grisly: 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 two men attacked the couple and killed Alexander. She admitted two years after her initial denial that she had killed him, claiming self-defense.
In the sentencing trial, jurors are not to consider her guilt or innocence -- just the punishment. The sentencing trial ran five months, about the length of the original trial.
In an interview shortly after her conviction -- and long before her lawyer argued against the death penalty -- Arias told anchor Troy Hayden of KSAZ in Phoenix that longevity ran in her family and that she wasn’t looking forward to decades behind bars.
“I said years ago that I’d rather get death than life, and that still is true today,” she said. “I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I’d rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
“So you’re saying you actually prefer getting the death penalty than being in prison for life?” Hayden asked.
“Yes,” she said.
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