Jodi Arias‘ second sentencing trial could start as early as September, according to an Arizona judge, who stated that she hopes to start picking jurors then.
Arias’ original sentencing trial ended with a deadlocked jury over whether the 33-year-old should be executed or serve life in prison. She has already been convicted of killing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.
But Judge Sherry Stephens was forced to declare the mistrial, setting the stage for another long process. The trial to determine Jodi Arias’ guilt or innocence took five months. During that time, it captivated the nation.
Alexander, who met Arias in 2006, was found dead in his shower on June 9, 2008. He was stabbed 27 times, had his throat slashed, and was shot in the face. While Arias initially denied she was even with Alexander when he died, she later admitted to jurors that she killed him in self-defense.
In order for Jodi Arias to receive the death penalty, jurors must unanimously agree on her sentence. The first jury failed to reach a consensus, allowing state prosecutors to either hold a second penalty phase with a new jury or allow Arias to be sentenced to life.
Prosecutors apparently decided to retry Arias for the death penalty, and asked that the proceedings start on July 30. However, defense attorneys asked to delay the penalty phase until January. The judge stated after a brief hearing on Tuesday that she hopes jury selection will start in late September. The delay would allow the defense time to prepare and address any pre-trial issues.
While they await the next sentencing phase, Jodi Arias’ attorneys are seeking to have the jury’s determination that their client killed Travis Alexander in an “especially cruel” manner overturned. They argued that the definition of “especially cruel” is too vague for jurors who have no legal experience.
Judge Sherry Stephens set another hearing for August 26, adding that she would like Jodi Arias’ retrial to happen in September.