The penalty phase of the trial for convicted murderer Jodi Arias may be delayed until next year. Arias' attorneys asked an Arizona judge in a motion filed this week to delay the retrial of the penalty phase in her case for January 2014 so that they would have time to gather witnesses.
Jodi Arias was found guilty of the first degree murder of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander by 12 jurors last month.
Alexander was killed on June 4, 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home after a day of sexual activity with Arias. He was found with a bullet wound to the head, as well as 29 stab wounds over his body, and his neck was slit almost from ear to ear.
The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict about whether the convicted killer should be given the death penalty or not.
The jury was in a deadlock on May 22, and after about two and a half hours of deliberations they reported to the judge that they were at an impasse. However, Judge Sherry Stephens had told them to continue on, and try to identify areas where they all agreed and where they disagreed. She urged them to keep trying, knowing that if they were unable to get beyond their impasse a mistrial could be announced in the penalty phase of the sentencing, meaning a new jury would have to be drafted in.
Despite days of deliberations, the jury could not reach a unanimous decision, resulting in a hung jury.
Under Arizona law, a hung jury in the death penalty phase of a trial requires a new jury to be brought in to decide the punishment.
If a second jury also is unable to reach a unanimous decision, the judge would then sentence Arias to life in prison, or to be eligible for release after 25 years.
Arias' attorneys had planned to call witnesses to the stand for the sentencing phase of her trial last month but retracted at the last minute, saying that the convicted murderer's friend was receiving death threats and refused to take the witness stand.
Currently, Arias' retrial has been set for July 18 and the judge has not yet decided on whether to allow the motion for the trial to be delayed until January 2014.