Although Jodi Arias narrowly escaped the death penalty by a vote of 11-1 in the murder of her ex-lover, Travis Alexander, it’s hard to say which would have been more expensive: the appeals process or keeping the young woman in prison for the rest of her life, which could easily be another half decade. She may be one of the most expensive prisoners ever in Arizona: She’s already cost the state taxpayers three million dollars.
Since Alexander’s brutal bathtub slaying in 2008, Arias has been through the judicial system in a series of trials which have causes two deadlocked juries on whether or not she should get the death penalty, which is still legal in Arizona. This second jury impasse, announced on March 5, ensures that Arias will get a life sentence, with a possibility of parole after 25 years, which a judge will decide April 13.
Many citizens were critical of the trial, stating that all of the gory details didn’t need to be reiterated again, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars each day — indeed, half of the country could probably tell you about the wounds to Alexander’s body when he was discovered. The high-profile case had a lot of appeal to the public because it involved a pretty, spoiled, obviously mentally disturbed female, and a handsome young man that had entranced several women. And sex, of course, lots of sex — reportedly just minutes before his death, in fact.
Arias, who is said suffer from borderline personality disorder, has a hard time adjusting to feeling abandoned — and her testimony, plus the detailed entries of her journal during the sordid sex affair, reveals that’s exactly how she felt — used and thrown away by Travis, who seemed to finally decide he wanted to settle down and date a nice Mormon girl and stop the shenanigans with Arias.
Maricopa County Prosecuting attorney Juan Martinez said he had no qualms with trying the case again, and that “regret is a place in the past that I don’t want to live.”
Members of the second jury said they were 11-1 in favor of the death penalty and had unsuccessfully attempted to get the lone holdout kicked off the panel, although there was no elaboration on what grounds they attempted that. The holdout juror had no statement for the media Thursday, but the other jurors said they thought Arias lacked remorse and that her attorneys had presented an inaccurate portrait of Alexander, trying to present him as a playboy who toyed with Arias’ troubled mind.
Other unbelievable gaffes were mentioned, such as the fact that the holdout juror said she thought that the death penalty is simply revenge, and that she had also watched a made-for-TV movie about the murder. The jury apologized to Travis Alexander’s family that there had no death sentence.
Arias’ attorneys billed the county $2.7 million for her defense, according to the latest figures available in December, although it’s feasible it could be significantly more by now. This most recent trial began in October of 2014. Prosecutors say they have spent nearly $133,000 on expert witnesses such as psychiatrists, travel expenses and other costs. That figure doesn’t include prosecutors’ salaries, which could easily make this one of the most expensive trials in Arizona’s history.