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Jodi Arias' Defense Costs Top $2M With Taxpayers Footing the Bill

Image: Jodi Arias' Defense Costs Top $2M With Taxpayers Footing the Bill

By Morgan Chilson   |   Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 06:50 PM

Arizona taxpayers are covering a $2.1 million bill for the defense of Jodi Arias during her murder trial and those costs are only going up as the case prepares to enter a second penalty phase in March.

Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder in May 2013 death of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008. But the jury couldn’t agree on whether or not to give her a death sentence, resulting in a mistrial. Although the conviction stands, prosecutors are preparing to start a second penalty phase with a new jury.

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Including court-appointed attorneys and other costs during the case, Maricopa County has paid $2.1 million to defend Arias, The Associated Press reported.

The Arias trial garnered international media attention as the details were laid out in court. Arias claimed to have killed Alexander in self-defense; he had almost 30 knife wounds and a gunshot wound to his forehead.

If a second jury can’t reach a decision, giving Arias the death penalty will no longer be an option, and a judge would sentence her to either life in prison or make her eligible for parole after 25 years.

With all the media attention on the trial, the fact that the jury hung on the penalty phase, voting 8 to 4 for the death penalty, and the judge declared a mistrial brought emotions to heightened levels.

The first jury foreman Bill Zervakos told the Arizona Republic that the jury’s task had not been easy and jury members were dismayed to get outside the courtroom and hear all the criticism for their performance.

“I think that by the end of it, we were mentally, emotionally exhausted,” he told the Republic. “I think we were horrified when we found out that they actually called a mistrial and we felt like we had failed.”

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