No deal struck during Arias settlement conference

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Natalie Brand

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 8:29 AM

PHOENIX -- No deal was reached during Thursday's settlement conference for Jodi Arias, according to Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Jerry Cobb.

The case is proceeding to the retrial penalty phase.

Lawyers on both sides of the Arias case were in court for the closed-door meeting as they tried to work out a settlement that could have put an end to one of the most-watched murder trials in history.

"She did the right thing from a legal standpoint," said defense attorney and legal analyst Ulises Ferragut who has closely followed the case. "I don't think this is necessarily, 'Jodi wants the spotlight.' I think this was a well-rehearsed and choreographed legal strategy."

Ferragut says as a result of her decision Thursday, she will retain all of her rights to appeal in the future.  If she's sentenced to death, her case would automatically be reviewed by the Arizona Supreme Court, and could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Historically, the percentage of cases that get overturned on appeal for death row inmates is much greater, almost 50-percent conviction rate, that is overturned," Ferragut said.  "Whereas, if she is not given death, her appeal chances are much lower."

No date has been set for a penalty phase retrial.  A judge must first rule on a number of motions filed in the case.  A new jury must then be seated.

After more than four months of testimony, a jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder in May. While they found her eligible for the death penalty, they could not unanimously agree to sentence her to it.

Since then, prosecutors and Arias' defense team have been preparing to retry the penalty phase. Arias' first-degree murder conviction is not at issue -- only her sentence.

A spokesman for the family of Travis Alexander told 3TV Thursday that they're pleased with prosecutor Juan Martinez and the county attorney's handling of the case.  However, there will be no comment until the end of the sentencing phase.

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