US jurors can't agree on death sentence for Jodi Arias
A jury in the US state of Arizona failed to reach a unanimous verdict on whether former waitress Jodi Arias should be put to death for the murder of her ex-boyfriend.
The judge ordered a rerun of the sentencing phase of the trial.
A retrial would require the selection of a new jury to consider the death penalty issue.
Should a second jury also fail to reach a consensus on sentencing, the death penalty would be taken off the table.
Arias, from California, US, was found guilty this month of murdering Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He had been stabbed 27 times, had his throat slashed and been shot in the face.
Judge Sherry Stephens, who had told the jury on Wednesday to resume deliberations after the panel indicated it was struggling to reach consensus, ordered a retrial of the penalty phase and a status hearing for June.
Arias, a petite figure dressed in black and wearing glasses who had pleaded with the jury to spare her life, appeared to breathe a sigh of relief. Alexander's relatives wept and hugged.
The four-month-long trial in Phoenix had included graphic testimony and photographs, and attracted the attention of television audiences in the United States with its tale of a soft-spoken young woman charged with an unspeakable crime. Arias, 32, argued the killing was in self-defence.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said his office would now "assess … what the next steps will be". "The court has set a status conference for June 20 and we will proceed with the intent to retry the penalty phase," Montgomery said.
Alexander's family, including his younger siblings Steven and Samantha, regularly attended the trial. The family has declined to comment through an attorney until after a sentence is handed down.
During her trial, Arias said she had killed Alexander, 30, in self-defence after he attacked her because she dropped his camera while taking snapshots of him in the shower.
She said she did not remember stabbing him.