By David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona judge is expected to decide on Monday whether Jodi Arias, who was convicted in 2013 of killing her ex-boyfriend, will spend the rest of her life in prison or possibly be eligible for parole after 25 years.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens is set to determine the fate of the former California waitress after a second jury last month failed to reach a unanimous verdict on whether she should be executed for the 2008 murder of Travis Alexander.
Stephens declared a mistrial on March 5 when a lone female juror refused to vote for the death penalty throughout five days of deliberations.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to make arguments one last time in a case that first grabbed the nation’s attention with its live-streamed court proceedings of lurid testimony and graphic images.
Prosecutors, legally barred from making yet another attempt to get a jury to agree to the death penalty, are hoping to at least make sure Arias can never be paroled.
"It’s going to be closure for the Alexander family and the public who are so invested in this case after all these years," said Jen Wood, a journalist and blogger who has covered the trial from the start. "Now it’s finally ending."
Arias, 34, was convicted in May 2013 of killing 30-year-old Alexander at his Phoenix-area residence some five years earlier.
He was found dead in the shower in June 2008, having been stabbed more than 20 times, his throat cut almost from ear to ear, and he had been shot in the face.
Arias was arrested at her grandparents’ home in Northern California a month later for a killing that prosecutors maintained was made in a jealous rage. Defense attorneys said she acted in self-defense.
The jury that convicted her agreed she was eligible for the death penalty, but deadlocked on her sentence. A second panel spent five months hearing the case without being able to reach a consensus.
Several of the jurors have said they plan to attend Monday’s hearing, a proceeding that is expected to again include statements from the victim’s family. Arias also may speak in a bid for a lighter sentence.
Arias, who testified for 18 days during her trial and parts of two days during her sentencing retrial, declined to make a last-minute plea to the jury in February.
(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Christian Plumb)