'No-win situation,' Arias juror says
Members of the panel struggled with their own beliefs in trying to decide the murderer's punishment.
PHOENIX - The jury foreman in Jodi Arias' trial says the panel just couldn't decide whether the killing of her boyfriend was enough to merit a death a sentence.
In an interview Friday, William Zervakos, 69, provided a glimpse into the private deliberations of the four women and eight men on the jury.
"The system we think is flawed in that sense because this was not a case of a Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson," Zervakos told the Associated Press. "It was a brutal no-win situation. . . . I think that's kind of unfair," he added. "We're not lawyers. We can't interpret the law."
Zervakos said the most difficult time of the trial was hearing victim Travis Alexander's brother and sister tearfully explain how his killing has shattered their lives.
"There was no sound in that jury room for a long time after that because you hurt so bad for these people," he said. "But that wasn't evidence. That's what made it so hard. . . . This wasn't about them. This was a decision whether we're going to tell somebody they were going to be put to death or spend the rest of their life in prison."
Zervakos described a deliberations room full of tears and spinning moral compasses as jurors struggled to come to grips with their own beliefs about what factors - including Arias' age at the time of the killing and her lack of criminal history -should cause them to show mercy and spare her life.
"You've got Travis Alexander's family devastated, that he was killed, that he was brutally killed. You've got Jodi Arias' family sitting in there, both families sitting and seeing these humiliating images and listening to unbelievably lurid private details of their lives, and you've got a woman whose life is over, too," Zervakos said.
"I mean, who's winning in this situation? And we were stuck in the middle."
The same jury on May 8 convicted Arias, 32, of first-degree murder, but couldn't reach a decision Thursday after about 13 hours of deliberations on whether she should live or die. Judge Sherry Stephens was forced to declare a mistrial of the penalty phase.
Arias stabbed and slashed Alexander nearly 30 times, slit his throat, and shot him in the forehead. Prosecutors said she attacked in a jealous rage. Arias contends it was self-defense.