The foreperson of the Jodi Arias jury said Friday said that deliberations over the death penalty were made difficult because of the fact they weren’t dealing with a murderer along the lines of a Charles Manson or a Jeffrey Dahmer, according to an article in the Huffpost today, Saturday, May 25. The jury was able to reach a verdict on May 8 that Arias was guilty of first degree murder for stabbing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander 29 times, slashing his throat and shooting him in the head.
But yesterday was a different story as 12 people who all said they could consider giving the death penalty in a proper case couldn’t agree as to whether this was an appropriate case to assign the ultimate punishment. Sources indicate that four members of the jury could not give the death penalty in this case, according to Headline News which has covered every syllable uttered in this case since Jan. 2.
Eight of the members of the jury said they could send Arias to the Arizona death house.
The non-verdict predictably resulted in some rather extreme reactions. Jane Velez-Mitchell of HLN chased one of the jurors from the courthouse demanding to know why he and his fellow 11 jurors could not reach a verdict. The defenseless juror could only respond, “No comment.”
In the future maybe jurors should be asked during jury selection if they think they can survive an assault by the news media following the trial.
Defense attorney Jose Baez said there was a strong point for appeal of the conviction based on the fact the jury was never sequestered during the nationally televised trial. He said that with so much publicity there was a basis for a reversal of the conviction because jurors were allowed to go home every night during not only the testmony, but also during deliberations.
Jurors are frequently sequestered during high profile cases to prevent them from reading newspapers or watching television reports of the trial.
Vinny Pollitan of HLN said of the hung jury, “Unbelievable!”
Nancy Grace, also of HLN, echoed the same response to the verdict saying, “Unbelievable!”
A conference with the judge and attorneys set for June 20 will determine how the sides will proceed in this case.
While the judge released the 12 jurors who convicted Arias, new jurors will have to be chosen to determine whether she receives the death penalty or life.
Jury foreman William Zervakos granted an interview to the Associated Press yesterday (Friday) and said, “We think the system is flawed in that sense because this was not a case of a Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson.”
Zervakos said their decision was made more difficult by the fact Arias was a 27-year old with no prior convictions.
The statements made by the 69-year old foreman seemed to indicate this particular jury wanted a serial killer along the lines of Manson or Dahmer before they would unanimously agree to end the life of a defendant.
The debate over the death penalty is one that has endured since the beginning of time and has now been re-ignited in the national arena of public discourse by the Jodi Arias trial.
Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera had said that it would be unusual for a defendant who killed a partner in a relationship to receive the death penalty.
In any event, the final decision will be made by 12 as of yet unknown people selected from the Arizona population.
In response to criticism of the way the news media covered the Arias trial, Pollitan responded excitedly, “We will always have cameras in the courtrooms!”
Calm down, Vinny. The judges still make that decision, not the news media.
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