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Jodi Arias Trial Verdict Update: 'She's A Mentally Ill Woman,' Her Lawyers Say as Death Penalty is Sought Out

By Sonya Magett, EnStars
on Jun 05, 2013 09:56 AM EDT
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  • Jodi Arias
  • Jodi Arias (Photo : youtube.com)

Jodi Arias' lawyers called their client a "mentally ill woman who has no prior criminal history," after the Maricopa County Attorney fought to ensure that Arias is given the death penalty when the sentencing phase of the trial begins. 

Arias' defense attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott wrote the following in a press statement, published Tuesday: "If the diagnosis made by the State's psychologist is correct, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office is seeking to impose the death penalty upon a mentally ill woman who has no prior criminal history.

Despite Mr. Montgomery's recent statements to the media, it is not incumbent upon Ms. Arias' defense counsel to resolve this case. Instead, the choice to end this case sits squarely with Mr. Montgomery and his office."

The lawyers also wrote that putting Arias on death row "is a good and proper use of taxpayer resources."

The first jury in Arias' first-degree murder trial failed to reach a unanimous decision on May 24, in the third phase of her near six-month trial. The judge was forced to then declare a mistrial.

The jury failed to come to an agreement on whether or not Arias should have been sentenced to life in prison, or receive the death penalty where she would die by lethal injection. If she received the death sentence, she will be the fourth woman in Arizona to do so.

Arias was found guilty of murder in the first-degree murder on May 8. The jury reached a "cruel manner" verdict on May 15 in the second phase. "Cruel manner" is when a victim suffered physical and or mental pain, according to Arizona law.

The new proceedings for the third phase - the sentencing phase - will begin July 18. If the proceedings rule in favor of no re-trial of the sentencing phase, then Arias will serve life in prison. If the penalty phase is re-tried and the new jury cannot reach an unanimous decision, then the final decision for the sentence options will be left up to the judge.

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