Jodi Arias Could be Executed in Just Four Years -- If Her Wish for Death Isn't Another Lie
|Debra Milke has been on death row since 1990, though she may soon be released from prison because her conviction was overturned in March.|
Alexander's decomposing body was found several days after the June 4, 2008, murder. Arias, an ex-girlfriend whom Alexander and his friends considered a stalker, quickly fell under suspicion.
She had attended his memorial service and even written his grandmother a letter to express sorrow about Alexander's death. She told police she had nothing to do with the murder and hadn't been to Arizona in weeks. Technicians with the Mesa Police Department recovered pictures in Alexander's camera and DNA evidence that proved she was lying.
Confronted with the evidence after her arrest, Arias came up with a phony story about two masked intruders coming into Alexander's home, shooting him, then threatening her family if she ever told anyone. Arias related the bogus account of the slaying in TV interviews, claiming that a jury would never convict her. She finally ditched the story and replaced it with her failed self-defense claim.
The same jury of eight men and four women that convicted her now is tasked with writing the final chapter of the Arias saga. All 12 jurors must agree on at least one aggravating factor, according to state law.
Juan Martinez, the bombastic, now-internationally popular deputy county attorney responsible for securing Arias' conviction, will use evidence he's already presented at trial to make his case for "heinous, cruel, and depraved manner" as an aggravating factor.
The jury can decide that the state hasn't proved the aggravating factor, in which case the judge will sentence Arias to natural life, meaning she'll die in prison. If jury members can't agree on at least one factor, a new jury will be impaneled to make the decision.
If jurors agree with Martinez, the trial moves to the penalty phase. This is where Arias hopes to convince jurors that she doesn't deserve execution. McDonald says Arias' defense team will "throw everything at the wall" in an attempt to persuade jurors to spare her life.
But in the Channel 10 interview, Arias said one of her lawyers, Kirk Nurmi, told her she has no mitigating factors: "Um, nothing that is what you typically see in a case like this, such as a childhood where there [were] drugs, alcoholism, [or] molestation. None of those things occurred in my family. So I guess we would sort of joke that my mom didn't beat me hard enough. So I don't have mitigation."
As with the aggravation phase, a new jury will be impaneled if jurors disagree. Jurors must be unanimous that Arias doesn't deserve the death penalty -- or unanimous that she does. If they vote for death, it's not a recommendation. Arias will be on her way to getting her supposed death wish.
It seems unlikely that she's suddenly telling the truth this time, after telling three big lies about how Alexander died.
Had Arias really wanted to die, she could have made it a murder-suicide by offing herself at the murder scene. Instead, she left Alexander's home with the .25-caliber gun that she recalled dumping in the desert. She drove to Utah for a make-out session with Ryan Burns, left a voice mail for Alexander as if he were still alive, and disposed of bloody socks and other evidence.
It certainly appears that she planned to get away with the murder -- and live.
No doubt, she loves the limelight. And she's put an unsubtle clue on her website that she intends to enjoy life for as long as she can.
She's selling T-shirts emblazoned with the word "Survivor."