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Jodi Arias could still get death penalty, says judge

Jodi Arias
Jodi Arias
HLN-TV screenshot

Jodi Arias, 33, could still face the death penalty according to Arizona’s Judge Sherry Stephens. Stephens has turned down a bid by the convicted murderer to be spared the death penalty while being retried for killing her former boyfriend in 2008. The written ruling from Judge Stephens dismissed claims by attorneys that the criminal case was compromised because a key member of Arias’ defense team was barred from visiting Maricopa County jails for a short amount of time, according to a Yahoo! News report on Saturday.

According to Judge Stephens written ruling given by the court on Friday – though dated May 27 – the defendant has failed to establish that she suffered any prejudice as a results of the incident involving the mitigation specialist. It was Maria De La Rosa, a mitigation specialist, who has helped gather information which can lead to a defendant avoiding the death sentence, who was barred from the jail system. De La Rosa was barred two months ago when she was accused of smuggling one of Arias’ drawings out of the jail.

The banning of De La Rosa by the sheriff’s officials was lifted a week after the incident. The mitigation specialist was allowed to visit Arias again. Arias is going to be retried again in September regarding the penalty phase of her criminal case.

Last year, Arias was convicted of killing Travis Alexander in his home near Phoenix. Authorities have said that the murder was quite brutal and grisly. Authorities have said that Alexander was found slumped in the shower, with his throat cut, stabbed a number of times, and shot in the face. The jury that convicted Arias of committing murder found her eligible to be executed. The jury did not, however decide if she should actually be sentenced to death. That, in itself, prompted a penalty phase mistrial, according to Fox News.

On Sept. 8, a new jury will be chosen. The first trial in the cases took five months to complete. Throughout the court proceedings, Arias testified for 18 days and asserted her innocence by stating that she acted in self-defense. After all the delays due to courtroom procedure maneuverings, there could be another deadlock. If a deadlock occurs again, the judge will sentence Arias to natural life in prison of life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.