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Jodi Arias' Trials Cost Arizona Taxpayers Nearly $3M

Friday, 06 Mar 2015 10:45 AM

 Officials say taxpayers shelled out around $3 million to prosecute and defend convicted murderer Jodi Arias at a series of trials that concluded with jurors deadlocked a second time on whether she should be executed or sent to prison for life for killing her lover in 2008.

The impasse ensures that Arias will get a life sentence, possibly with a chance for parole after 25 years, which a judge will decide April 13.

Some criticized prosecutors for holding a second sentencing trial after a 2013 jury deadlocked on Arias' punishment, arguing the drawn-out proceedings that began in October achieved little beyond rehashing the crime's gruesome and sometimes tawdry details.

Arias was convicted of killing her lover, Travis Alexander, in the case that became a global sensation with its revelations about her sexual relationship with the victim and that she had slit his throat so deeply that he was nearly decapitated.

Thursday's mistrial marked a disappointment for prosecutors leading the nearly seven-year legal battle. But Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he had no qualms about pursuing the death penalty again.

"Regret is a place in the past I can't afford to live in," he said, adding that arbitrary limits can't be set on the costs of trials.

Members of the second jury said they were 11-1 in favor of the death penalty and tried unsuccessfully to get the lone holdout kicked off the panel. The holdout juror did not speak to the media Thursday, but other jurors said they thought Arias lacked remorse and that her attorneys had presented an inaccurate portrait of Alexander.

The jurors did not elaborate, but defense lawyers said during the trial that Alexander had used Arias to quench his sexual urges, called her demeaning names and told her she was soulless.

Most of the jurors said they believed the holdout was biased and opposed to giving the death penalty. They asked the judge Tuesday if the woman could be replaced with an alternate, but the judge denied the request and told them to keep deliberating.

One male juror said he became angry when the holdout indicated the death penalty would be a form of revenge. Jurors also noted that the woman had acknowledged seeing a cable TV movie about the case.

Jurors apologized to the Alexander family for the deadlock and said they felt Arias was trying to manipulate the panel.

None of the jurors would give their names, and their identities are kept secret in Arizona.

Arias' attorneys billed the county about $2.7 million for her defense, according to the latest figures available in December. Prosecutors say they have spent nearly $133,000 on expert witnesses, travel expenses and other costs. That figure doesn't include prosecutors' salaries.

Arias will begin serving her sentence in a 12-by-7 foot cell in a maximum-security unit at the Perryville prison for women, west of downtown Phoenix. If officials deem her behavior good over time, she could be moved to a medium-security unit.

After the judge announced the deadlock Thursday, Alexander's family members wept. His brothers and sisters said in a statement that they "are saddened by the jury's inability to reach a decision on the death penalty, however, we understand the difficulty of the decision, and have nothing but respect for the jury's time."

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said the killing was a tragedy, and "no verdict ultimately could repair that sadness."

Prosecutors say Arias killed Alexander as revenge because he wanted to date other women and was planning a trip to Mexico with his latest love interest.

Authorities said Arias shot him in the head and stabbed and slashed him nearly 30 times, then left his body in his shower at his suburban Phoenix home, where friends found him about five days later.

Arias initially courted the spotlight after her arrest, granting interviews to "48 Hours" and "Inside Edition."

She testified for 18 days at her first trial, describing her abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, relationship with Alexander and her contention that he was physically abusive. But during the second sentencing trial, cameras were prohibited from airing footage until it ended.


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Officials say taxpayers shelled out around $3 million to prosecute and defend convicted murderer Jodi Arias at a series of trials that concluded with jurors deadlocked a second time on whether she should be executed or sent to prison for life for killing her lover in...
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2015-45-06
Friday, 06 Mar 2015 10:45 AM
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