Arizona jury sworn in to consider death penalty for Jodi Arias

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2014 6:27 AM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona jury was sworn in on Tuesday to decide whether Jodi Arias, who was convicted of the 2008 slaying of her ex-boyfriend at a sensational trial, should face the death penalty or life in prison.

The 12 jurors and six alternates were sworn for the penalty phase of Arias' trial by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge after months of delays in the high profile case.

Arias, 34, was in court as the jury was sworn in, wearing a beige blouse.

The former waitress was convicted last year of killing former boyfriend Travis Alexander, who was found slumped in the shower of his Mesa, Arizona home on June 4, 2008.

Alexander had been stabbed 27 times, his throat slashed, and shot in the face.

During the trial Arias testified for 18 days, claiming she acted in self-defense, while prosecutors said she murdered Alexander in a jealous rage.

The jury found her guilty and quickly decided that she was eligible for the death penalty. But they deadlocked on what her punishment should be, forcing Judge Sherry Stephens to declare a mistrial.

The five-month trial featured lurid testimony and grim crime-scene photographs, drawing many U.S. television and Internet viewers watching live-streamed broadcasts. The penalty phase retrial, however, will not be broadcast live.

It took roughly three weeks to seat the new jury, from a pool of roughly 400 people. If that jury deadlocks, the death penalty will be off the table and Stephens will decide if Arias gets life in prison or life without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Writing by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Lisa Von Ahn)