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April 13, 2015

Arizona judge sentences murderer Jodi Arias to life without parole

An Arizona judge sentenced former waitress Jodi Arias to life in prison with no possibility of parole on Monday for shooting and stabbing her ex-boyfriend to death in 2008.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens said Arias' crime, which attracted national attention, was "especially cruel ... (and) involved substantial planning and preparation."

Arias, 34, had escaped a possible death sentence last month after a lone juror at her sentencing retrial refused to back the death penalty throughout five days of deliberations. 

Prosecutors say she killed her former partner in a jealous rage while Arias argues she acted in self-defense.

After a second jury failed last month to reach a unanimous verdict on whether she should be executed, Stephens had to choose between sentencing her either to life in prison or to life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

"The defendant did not render aid to the victim ... (and) destroyed evidence at the crime scene," Stephens said in issuing the sentence. 

"The court finds the mitigation presented is not sufficiently substantial to call for leniency and that a natural life sentence is appropriate." 

Stephens declared a mistrial on March 5 after a female juror refused to vote for the death penalty.

The victim, 30-year-old Travis Alexander, was found dead in a shower at his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He had been stabbed more than 20 times, his throat was slashed almost from ear to ear, and he had been shot in the face.