The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld Jodi Arias’ murder conviction and life sentence in the 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend, rejecting her assertions that she was denied a fair trial.
Arias was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for killing her ex-boyfriend, 30-year-old Travis Alexander. His body was found – stabbed, shot in the face and slit in the neck from ear to ear – in the shower of his Mesa, Arizona, home.
Now 39, Arias appealed her conviction and sentence, arguing partly that trial publicity – including live media coverage of the proceedings – and a prosecutor’s alleged misconduct deprived her of a fair trial and impartial jury.
In a 29-page ruling and a 16-page memorandum Tuesday, a three-judge panel found, in part:
• The prosecutor did engage in misconduct by being hostile and aggressive “with each witness whose testimony was inconsistent with the state’s theory of the case.”
• Still, Arias isn’t entitled to a new trial and evidence overwhelmingly showed she was guilty. The evidence “would not have permitted any reasonable juror to acquit her of the charged offense.”
• That evidence included “uncontroverted evidence that Arias planned the killing.”
• Regarding the publicity, Arias “failed to show that either the jurors’ ability to impartially and fairly decide the case or her defense team’s performance was adversely affected.”
A call seeking comment from one of Arias’ attorneys, Cory Engle, was not immediately returned.
The trial attracted a national audience riveted by the themes of sex and violence.
During 18 days of testimony, Arias admitted shooting Alexander, arguing she did so in self-defense after he lunged at her. She said she remembered nothing about attacking him after the gunshot.
The jury rejected her self-defense argument and convicted Arias of first-degree murder in May 2013.
That jury found the murder was especially cruel, making Arias eligible for the death penalty. However, that same jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on whether she should live or die.
A new jury was empaneled in October 2014 to decide Arias’ fate, but it, too, didn’t reach a unanimous decision.
Because a second jury was deadlocked in the penalty phase of Arias’ case, the death penalty was taken off the table, and a judge sentenced her to life in prison without the possibility of parole in April 2015.
Before her sentencing, Arias expressed remorse.
“To this day, I can’t believe that I was capable of doing something that terrible,” Arias said. “I’m truly disgusted and repulsed with myself. I’m horrified because of what I did, and I wish there was some way I could take it back.”