Day four of the deliberations over the fate of convicted murderer Jodi Arias continued today with still no final decision, but the judge in the case is allowing the deliberations to continue further than expected following certain questions that were raised among the jury members.
As it stands, the jury is trying to decide whether Jodi Arias should be sentenced to the death penalty or not. If the jury can't decide soon, the fate of Arias will then be put into the hands of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens who will make the choice between life in prison until Arias' natural death or release eligibility in 25 years. At that point, the death penalty would be taken off the table.
At 12 p.m. Arizona time, the jury reached an impasse when they asked two undisclosed questions to the court officials. Judge Stephens told the jury at 1:45 p.m. that they would need to "work harder" and discuss the law and review the testimony to answer their question. At that point, the jury agreed to continue deliberation, but no final penalty verdict has been announced.
The Arizona Republic's EJ Montini penned an editorial describing the possible outcomes of the sentencing, noting that there are two "absolutely guaranteed" outcomes either way: "Travis Alexander's family finally will get some justice," and "Jodi Arias will NOT get what she deserves."
Montini goes on to describe that the best outcome of this entire media and judicial circus that has been dragged on for years would be if we stopped hearing about Jodi Arias altogether.
"If at some point in the future we were to hear the name 'Jodi Arias' and it didn't ring a bell, the woman who killed Travis Alexander would finally get what she deserves," Montini writes. "Unfortunately, that won't happen. There is an appeal process."
Jodi Arias was convicted in 2013 of the murder of Travis Alexander in 2008, but this current jury decision is set up to determine the woman's fate. Alexander's body was found at his Mesa, Arizona home with 29 stab wounds, a slit throat, and a gun shot wound to the head. The trial, and its subsequent appeals hearings, have gained national attention following the sometimes graphic sexual nature of the testimony and audio evidence, which painted Arias as someone who manipulated Alexander during and after the period of time in which they were dating.
But the impasse may be hard to understand for those following the trial and calling for the death penalty, but, as legal analyst Hector Diaz told Arizona's ABC 15, "We're getting this in social media, we're seeing clips, we're getting commentary about the testimony and what this meant or how this may have been interpreted. The fact of the matter is that these jurors who are sitting here -- because of the rules of evidence -- don't really get everything that we on the outside are getting. So in many respects, they're viewing this trial in a bubble. They're viewing it in a vacuum."
Deliberations continue today, and if a verdict isn't reached by the end of the day, expect tomorrow to either bring a final decision by the jury, or a deadlock situation with Judge Stephens taking over.