Under Arrest - H is for Hung Jury

Photo by RD Gray on Unsplash

Welcome back to the criminal A-Z!

Today I'm talking about hung juries. What's this, do jury members hang themselves? Only half kidding. They have a tough job deciding on somebody's destiny. 

When a jury is hung the situation is that they are not coming to an unanimous verdict, even after lengthy deliberation. 

For example ten jurors find the defendant guilty, but two say hold on, we don't like the defendant any more than you do, but we have to uphold a high standard of the law, and the prosecution didn't really prove all that much!

As a result the judge will declare a mistrial, and the jury members are dismissed. 

There will be a new date for a new trial with new jurors.

This is what happened in Jodi Arial's case. 


In case you don't remember her, she's the formerly blonde girl who premeditated murdering her on/off boyfriend Travis Alexander in pretty smart way: 
  • May 1st, 2008: Travis decides to take Maria Hall to an upcoming trip to Cancun, Mexico and tells Jodi about it. She's not amused.
  • On May 28, 2008 Jodi staged a home invasion at her home during which her gun was "stolen".
  • On June 2, Jodi rented a car at Budget Rent a Car in Redding, CA. 
  • on June 3, she purchased a five-gallon gas can from a Walmart store in Salinas. Said can was returned a week later.
  • Travis Alexander was killed on June 4, 2008. He sustained 27 to 29 stab wounds, a slit throat, and a gunshot wound to the head.
  • June 5, 2008 – Jodi visits Ryan Burns, a love interest and co-worker, at his home in West Jordan, Utah.
  • When Jodi returned the car on June 7, it had been driven about 2,800 miles (4,500 km). The rental clerk testified that the car was missing its floor mats and had red stains on its front and rear seats. It could not be verified that the car had floor mats when she picked it up and any stains could not be verified since the car was cleaned before police could examine it.
  • July 9, 2008 – Jodi celebrates her 28th birthday while a grand jury indicts her on first-degree murder.
  • On July 15 she's arrested.
  • Sept. 11, 2008 – Jodi Arias enters a not-guilty plea at her arraignment.

With "smart" I mean she made sure the gun that was registered to her was reported stolen. She didn't want her own car  to be recognized at Alexander's place, so she rented one, and she brought the gas can to avoid being recorded on gas station security cameras as she drove to Mesa.

Now I'm not good at math, but whatever rental car she had, five extra gallons of gas weren't nearly enough to take her from Redding, CA to Mesa, CA to Salt Lake City, UT and back to Redding, CA without having to stop at a gas station?

Well, not my problem. 

Jodi Arias was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of former boyfriend Travis Alexander, but the jury hung on the penalty phase, life in prison or death sentence.

Here's a detailed timeline:

  • Aug 8, 2011 – Jodi Arias tells Judge Sherry Stephens of Maricopa County Superior Court that she wants to represent herself. Stephens grants the request but has Arias’ public defenders, Victoria Washington and Kirk Nurmi, remain on as advisory counsel.
  • The trial commenced on December 10, 2011. 
  • Initial jury selection began on December 10, 2012 I'll talk more about jury selection in my V is for Voir Dire post. Stay tuned!
  • In opening arguments on January 2, 2013, prosector Juan Martinez sought the death penalty.
  • On May 7, 2013, after 15 hours of deliberation, Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder. Out of twelve jurors, five jurors found her guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, and seven jurors found her guilty of both first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder.
  • The penalty phase began on May 16, 2013
  • The aggravation phase of the trial started on May 15, 2013 (the prosecution was required to convince the jury that the murder was "cruel, heinous, or depraved" in order for them to determine that Arias was eligible for the death penalty)
  • On October 21, 2014, Arias' sentencing retrial began.
  • After a holiday break, the retrial resumed in January, 2015.
  • Jury deliberations began on February 12, 2015.
  • March 2, 2015, the jury informed Judge Stephens that they were deadlocked. Arias' attorneys requested a mistrial. Stephens denied the request, read additional instructions to the jury, and ordered them to resume deliberations.
  • On March 5, 2015, Stephens declared a mistrial because the jurors, who deliberated for about 26 hours over five days, deadlocked at 11–1 vote in favor of the death penalty. Sentencing was scheduled for April 7, 2015, with Stephens having the option to sentence Arias to either life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or with the possibility of parole after 25 years. 
  • Up to that point, Arias' trials cost an estimated $3 million
  • On 6 March 2015, after the retrial of the penalty phase concluded, it was reported that juror #17, the sole holdout, received death threats and police were posted at her house.
  • April 13, Stephens sentenced Arias to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Jodi was brought to Arizona State Prison Complex Perryville which is one of 13 prison facilities operated by the Arizona Department of Corrections in Goodyear, AZ.
She lives at Lumley Unit which houses the female death row. The average cost of housing an inmate in Arizona is $25,397. Now Jodi is no average inmate because she is in a maximum security unit, so her costs are higher, but for the sake of it, let's go with the 25k. 
She was arrested in 2008 and started her sentence in 2015. Let's assume her life expectancy is 80 years so she'll die in 2060, meaning the State of Arizona will have paid roughly 1.3 million dollars for her imprisonment and the 3 million for her trial. 
4.3 million! For one crazy bitch! 
It takes 5,400 people in the Congo (or 73 Americans) working for an entire year to make that kind of money!

I'm just thinking about the constructive things they could do with that amount let's say spend it for the education system, childcare, veterans, senior citizens, cancer research or the homeless!
She's also a stupid bitch. If Travis didn't want to marry her, she could have moved on like the rest of us! 
She liked to travel, she could have explored the world. Instead she went batshit crazy, slashed his tires, hacked into his and his female friends' Facebook accounts, ended up slaughtering him, and now she's staring at prison walls. 

I wonder if she is doing all the good things she promised to do if she was spared the death penalty: donating her hair to Locks of Love, raising funds for domestic violence victims, establishing prison recycling programs, teaching Spanish and doing illiteracy projects for her fellow inmates..? 

I really hope she is. She also has a beautiful voice. She sang Dido and Christmas songs in the interrogation room:

It really makes you think. A pretty and talented young lady ruined her life with one colossal mistake. 

Do you think it was her destiny? Could it happen to anyone? Could it happen to you?

Thank you for reading - hope to see you back tomorrow for the letter I.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


  1. it could sadly happen to anyone. i followed the jodi arias case religiously and remember gasping in shock when i saw her lift up the shirt she'd made during her request for life. seemed an insult to the alexander family. she's a nut-case but a smart one. what did you think of Alyce LaViolette' testimony? both she and arias on the stand i think hurt the defense.

    Joy at The Joyous Living

  2. These posts have been interesting, because I hear kind of in the aether about these cases, but I never really paid attention while they were happening.

  3. I think if she had gotten some therapy about that boyfriend, maybe she wouldn't go bat crazy and the government wouldn't have to spend so much money on her.

    also, that boyfriend really should not be in contact with her but I suppose with social media, she can found out anything...

    have a lovely day.


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