Jodi Arias Could be Executed in Just Four Years -- If Her Wish for Death Isn't Another Lie
In an exclusive post-conviction interview, boyfriend-killer Jodi Arias insisted that she didn't plan to kill 30-year-old Travis Alexander in 2008.
Image: Court pool photograph Jodi Arias claims she prefers the death penalty to life in prison. If that's true, says the state AG's Office, she could be executed in as little as four years if she decides not to appeal.
But now that she's been convicted of premeditated murder, she'd "prefer to die sooner than later."
Arias went on to say to Channel 10's Troy Hayden, "Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place. I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."
If the jury gives the world-famous murderess the death penalty, and she keeps her word, she could be dead in as little as four years. But when has Arias told the truth since Alexander's bloody demise?
Leaving a cyanide pill in her cell so she could exit the world like arsonist Michael Marin did in a Phoenix courtroom last year ("Burning Man" Found Guilty of Arson, June 28) isn't an option, no matter how many people post tweets to "#jodiarias" wishing it was.
Image: Court video Michael Marin killed himself with a cyanide pill last year after being convicted of burning down his mansion. Jodi Arias claims she'd rather die "sooner than later," rather than spending the rest of her life in prison.
In fact, her comments to KSAZ-TV last week landed her on a Maricopa County jail suicide watch. A guard checked her every 15 minutes to make sure she'd be alive until the high-rating TV spectacle starring her ends.
The suicide watch was lifted on Monday. Also on Monday, Arias' lawyers asked the judge to cancel the death-penalty option, but were refused by Judge Sherry Stephens. It's unclear whether Arias encouraged the request.
One way Arias could hasten her demise substantially is if she fails to appeal a death sentence, says Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.
The state grants one automatic appeal to inmates sentenced to die, regardless of their wishes. Assuming that's not successful in Arias' case -- and Arias still claims she wants to die -- the state will order a psychiatric examination to be "100 percent that the person is completely fine, mentally," Grisham says. Then: curtains.
In theory, the process could take just four years. Because a normal death-penalty case takes 20 to 27 years from conviction to execution, Arias' decision could save taxpayers millions of dollars, Grisham says.
The sensational trial, which has been going on since January 2, already has cost county taxpayers an estimated $2 million.
After finding Arias guilty of first-degree murder, jury members now turn their attention to the trial's aggravation and penalty phases. These could last at least a couple of weeks, experts say. The proceedings were scheduled to begin right before publication of this story.
In the aggravation phase, "The state will present evidence to prove the murder was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner," says Jerry Cobb, spokesman for the County Attorney's Office.
Defense attorney Mel McDonald, a former Arizona U.S. Attorney who has watched the trial closely, says he believes the chances that the jury will vote for the death penalty are "staggeringly high."
Image: Illustration by Graham Smith
McDonald adds, "You don't get much more gruesome than this offense. You can tell from the jury questions that they were not sympathizing with her."
The horror-movie details of Alexander's slaying are familiar to even casual observers of what has been one of the most celebrated televised trials in U.S. history.
Stabbed 27 times. Throat slashed from ear to ear. Shot in the head.