In the trial of the decade, the Jodi Arias trial, on Friday the jury was sent out to determine what Jodi’s sentence will be. To those of you unaware, Jodi is accused of murdering her ex boyfriend. But not just murdering. The man, Travis Alexander, was stabbed 28 times (this number varies depending on your media source), was shot in the face, and then wasn’t discovered for 5 days. It has been such a sensational tale because of the brutality of the murder, the fact that Arias has lied numerous times to the police, and because of the extremely sexual testimony from Arias regarding her and Alexander’s relationship, which conflicts with his appearance as an upstanding Mormon. 30 year old virgin is what his brother called him, in fact.
All drama aside, the death penalty is an option for the defendant in this case, and her team of lawyers has argued that Arizona’s death penalty laws are unconstitutional. There have been situations in Arizona where a person committing a lesser crime has been put to death, when others convicted of a worse crime have worked out plea deals that saved their life.
Arias sentence is dependent on what she is convicted of. Arizona has the option of the death penalty if she is convicted of Murder 1. But there are other possibilities. She could be convicted of Murder 1 with premeditation. Murder 1 without premeditation. Murder 2, which carries a lesser penalty. There is also manslaughter that carries an even lesser penalty, along with defining the crime as self-defense, which would be an acquittal.
What would a criminal have to do to receive the death penalty? First of all, this varies by state. Some states don’t even have the death penalty. Sticking with the state in question, Arizona has a long list of what are considered “Capital Crimes”. Here’s the list:
- Prior conviction for which a sentence of life imprisonment or death was imposable
- Prior serious offense involving the use or threat of violence;
- Grave risk of death to others;
- Procurement of murder by payment or promise of payment;
- Commission of murder for pecuniary gain;
- Murder committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner;
- Murder committed while in custody;
- Multiple homicides;
- Murder of a victim under 15 years of age or of a victim 70 years of age or older
- Murder of a law enforcement officer
Despite the various crimes on the list, only 34 people in Arizona have been executed. Saying “only” is really subjective, but when you compare it to a state like Texas that has executed 1247 people, 34 seems like a small number. Of the 34, none have been women, so if Arias is convicted and this is her sentence, she will be the first.