US killer Jodi Arias gets life term with no chance for re­lease, de­cides court

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY JAC­QUES BILLEAUD AND JOSH HOFFNER

A judge sen­tenced con­victed mur­derer Jodi Arias to life in pri­son with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of re­lease on Mon­day, end­ing a nearly seven-year-old case that at­tracted world­wide at­ten­tion with its sala­cious de­tails.

The de­ci­sion by Judge Sherry Stephens was largely a for­mal­ity af­ter a jury dead­locked last month on whether to give Arias the death penalty or life in pri­son. The mistrial re­moved the death penalty as an op­tion.

The only de­ci­sion left Mon­day was whether the judge would al­low Arias, 34, to be el­i­gi­ble for re­lease af­ter 25 years. She de­clined to do that, mean­ing Arias will spend the rest of her life in pri­son.

Arias’ 2013 trial be­came a me­dia sen­sa­tion and gained in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion as de­tails of her tawdry re­la­tion­ship with on­a­gain-off-again boyfriend Travis Alexander and the vi­o­lent crime scene emerged while the court­room saga was broad­cast live.

Arias gave a ram­bling state­ment in which she stood by her tes­ti­mony and ac­cused po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors of chang­ing their story dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The most im­por­tant thing I want to say is that I’m very sorry for the enor­mous pain I caused to the peo­ple who loved Travis,” she said. “I’m truly dis­gusted and I’m re­pulsed with my­self.”

Arias killed Alexander in 2008 in what pros­e­cu­tors said was re­tal­i­a­tion for his de­sire to break off the re­la­tion­ship. She shot him and stabbed him nearly 30 times in his sub­ur­ban Phoenix home be­fore flee­ing and driv­ing to Utah to meet up with an­other ro­man­tic in­ter­est. She was ar­rested weeks later and ini­tially de­nied any in­volve­ment.

The orig­i­nal jury dead­locked on whether to sen­tence Arias to death, set­ting up an­other penalty phase trial that be­gan last year. Af­ter months of tes­ti­mony and ef­forts by Arias’ lawyers to por­tray Alexander as a sex­ual de­viant who phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally abused her, the sec­ond jury also failed to reach a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion — this time 11-1 in fa­vor of death. The 11 ju­rors who wanted the death penalty said the hold­out ju­ror had an agenda and was sym­pa­thetic to Arias.

Arias will begin serv­ing her sen­tence in a max­i­mum-se­cu­rity unit at the Per­ryville pri­son for women, lo­cated 30 miles (48 kilo­me­ters) west of down­town Phoenix. If pri­son of­fi­cials deem her be­hav­ior good over time, she could be moved to lower-se­cu­rity units.

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