The jurors in the Jodi Arias trial are speaking out after they failed to unanimously decide whether the 32-year-old killer should be put to death or spend her remaining days behind bars. Three of people on the jury have said the sentencing phase of the trial was “absolutely awful” after Arias was convicted of first-degree murder.
“We can’t come to a decision, and it was gut-wrenching. It was absolutely awful,” Diane Schwartz, a retired 911 operator who was known as Juror No. 6 throughout the five-month trial, told ABC News.
It didn’t take long for the jury to find Arias guilty of murdering her former lover, Travis Alexander, in 2008, but the sentencing phase was entirely different: The jury was split. Immediately following her conviction, Arias said she hoped for the death penalty because she thought that would be the ultimate freedom, but, as the sentencing trial began, she begged for her life, saying she would continue to donate her hair to Locks of Love.
Schwartz, along with fellow jurors Kevin Spellman and Marilou Allen-Coogan, told ABC News they were all in favor of giving Arias the death penalty, but four other jurors believed she should spend her life in prison. “It was a very trying experience,” Spellman, a banker who was known as Juror No. 13 told the media outlet. “How do you weigh a person’s life?” In any case, Spellman said he thinks Arias is dying, regardless of any sentence she receives: “She is sentenced to death no matter what.”
Arias was considered a liar by many during most of the trial. And, for two years, she lied to investigators as she denied any involvement in the case before finally saying she had killed Alexander, but did it in self-defense, citing alleged physical and mental abuse inflicted by her former lover.
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“Based on what we saw and the evidence presented, it was very apparent that we weren’t being told the truth in a lot of the matters, and there was a lot of cover-up,” Allen-Coogan said, adding that she believed Arias was manipulating the jury. “The state proved their case. It was premeditated,” she said.
The jury deliberated about sentencing for three days, but were unable to come to a unanimous decision, which forced the judge to call a hung jury. “I felt like we had failed the system,” Schwartz said. “As I walked out, I remember looking towards the prosecution table. I thought, ‘They won’t even look at us.’ I immediately, as I was stepping down, told them, ‘I’m sorry,’” she said. “It was heartfelt because I was. I was very sorry.”
Arias’ fate lies in the hands of the prosecution. It could attempt to go through the sentencing phase again with a new jury or it could let Arias spend the rest of her life behind bars. The prosecutor’s office hasn’t decided yet, but if it does decide to try Arias for the death penalty again, the trial will begin July 18.