Arias jury facing mistrial if sentence can't be reached

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by Jared Dillingham

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azfamily.com

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Updated Friday, May 24 at 6:27 AM

PHOENIX -- The Jodi Arias jury is on the verge of a mistrial, if all members cannot agree unanimously on a sentence for the convicted murderer.

The judge sent them into further deliberations, after they announced the deadlock Wednesday morning.

If the current jury is unable to reach a decision, Prosecutor Juan Martinez and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery will have to decide whether to take the death penalty off the table. If they remove it, the judge will sentence Jodi Arias from 25 years to life in prison.

"They're going to have to decide if it's worth spending more taxpayer dollars continuing to seek the death penalty," attorney Ulises Ferragut told 3TV.

If the State refuses to remove the death penalty as an option, the judge will convene a completely new jury. The 12 new members would have to be open to the idea of the death penalty.

"The court is going to have to find a jury that doesn't have a lot of exposure to this case, and that's going to be difficult," Ferragut added.

The new jury, if convened, would only handle the life or death decision, not guilt or aggravating factors. They would be given summaries of the case, and hear statements from both sides, including Jodi Arias and the Alexander family.

It could take a month or more to find a new jury and present the sentencing evidence, if it gets to that point.

If the second jury deadlocks, the judge would impose a sentence.

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