Jodi Arias, convicted of first-degree murder, faced a jury yesterday at the Maricopa County Superior Court, but she refused to talk to them unless the the public was first dismissed. She passed up the chance to address jurors before they decided her fate between life and death.
Prior to closing arguments, defendants in Arizona who are facing the death penalty murder are generally given the chance to talk to the jury that will decide their sentencing. Arias was presented the opportunity, known as allocution, yet refused to say a word unless the public was made to leave. She faces the death penalty for the June, 2008, murder of her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander.
Maricopa County Superior Court’s Judge Sherry Stephens explained to Arias that a previous ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals prohibits any part of the proceedings from being held privately. According to Business Insider, Arias argued that the rule only applied during an open proceeding, but the judge didn’t budge.
Travis Alexander was stabbed 27 times, shot once in the head, and left for dead in his Mesa, Arizona, home. Police arrested Arias a month after the murder. She denied being involved at first, but changed her story to self-defense after overwhelming evidence placed her in his house the night of the killing. Her trial started in January, 2013, and within nine months, the jury found her guilty of first-degree murder.
Jurors, however, deadlocked when it came time to sentence Arias, resulting in a new jury seating in September, 2014. As her sentencing re-trial began, a secret testimony revealed Arias admitting to murdering her former boyfriend. She claimed it took her a long time to admit her crime because she didn’t want to face the fact that she took someone’s life.
“Because – because what I did was so horrific that I couldn’t have – I could never have imagined myself doing that to another human being.”
In Arizona, first-degree murder convictions carry a sentence of either life in prison or death. If the jury cannot decide Arias’ fate, she will be sentenced to spend her life in prison without parole or a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
If the jury decides to give Arias the death penalty, she will become the third female in Arizona on death row. Only two other female inmates are currently on death row, including Wendi Andriano and Shawna Forde.