The sentencing phase for convicted murderer Jodi Arias was pushed back again today after the judge overseeing her case said the court was not ready to set a start date.
Arias, 33, was convicted in May of murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, 30, after a five-month trial in Phoenix, Ariz. But the jury could not come to an agreement on whether Arias deserved the death penalty, and Judge Sherry Stephens declared a hung jury for the sentencing phase of the trial.
Arias appeared in court today with her hair in a bun and smiled at spectators in the gallery. She had admitted to killing Alexander in June 2008, but claimed throughout her trial that it was in self-defense.
Today’s hearing was over within minutes after Stephens said the court was not yet ready to set a start date for the new sentencing phase and scheduled another pre-trial hearing for Sept. 16, saying she would hear arguments on pending motions at that date. The defense has filed motions to ban cameras from broadcasting the sentencing phase live and to allow lawyers to monitor jurors’ Twitter accounts.
The new sentencing phase will take weeks, as prosecutors and defense attorneys choose a new set of 12 to 18 jurors and then catch them up to speed on evidence from murder trial. They will present shortened versions of the cases they presented to the original jury.
The new jury will only rule on whether or not Arias will be put to death. If they cannot decide, a second hung jury will be declared and Stephens will sentence Arias to either life in prison with parole or life in prison without parole.