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Arias jury hung on penalty phase

The jury who found Jodi Arias guilty of murder failed to come to a unanimous decision as to whether to sentence her to death or life in prison.

Jurors in the high-profile Jodi Arias trial on Thursday failed to reach an agreement over whether she should receive the death penalty for killing her ex-boyfriend.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens called for a retrial in the penalty phase after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. The new jury will be impaneled on July 18, unless the prosecutor decides to no longer seek the death penalty and agrees to a life sentence.

Stephens, visibly disappointed by the news that the marathon 5-month trial would need to continue further, told the jury, "This was not your typical trial. You were asked to perform some very difficult duties."

Earlier this month Arias was found guilty for the brutal murder of her former boyfriend, 30-year-old Travis Alexander. His body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He was stabbed 27 times, had his throat slashed and was shot in the face.

On Wednesday, jurors told the judge that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, but Stephens directed the eight men and four women to continue deliberations.

Under Arizona law, if the new jury is seated and also cannot come to an agreement on sentencing, the judge would then decide whether Arias will spend life in prison or have the eligibility of parole after 25 years. A judge cannot sentence Arias to death.

After news of the hung jury, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement, "We appreciate the jury's work in the guilt and aggravation phases of the trial and now we will assess, based upon available information, what the next steps will be."

Arias has contradicted herself publicly, at first saying she wants to die and then pleading for her life.

Following the guilty verdict, the 32-year-old told a local radio station that she would rather die than spend the rest of her life in jail. She then took to the stand on Tuesday to plead with the jury to spare her life, saying she never meant to cause her victim's family pain and that she would contribute to society if her life was spared.

“This is the worst mistake of my life. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done,” Arias said. “To this day, I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence.”

Just hours after she took the stand, she told NBC's TODAY show, “What I receive will be what I deserve, I believe.”

Arias contended that she killed her former lover in self-defense in what was an abusive relationship defined by forced sex and violence. Prosecutors say Arias fell into a jealous rage after Alexander ended the relationship and revealed his involvement with another woman.

The trial and its lurid details of the former couple's sex life, along with Arias' revelations of an abusive childhood and previous romantic failures, captivated the country as it was played out live on television and the Internet.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a statement Thursday evening that Arias will no longer be permitted to do media interviews and will remain as a closed custody inmate in a county jail near Phoenix, Ariz.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related:

Jodi Arias: Death penalty would be 'revenge,' not justice

Take a peek inside Jodi Arias' jail cell

Jodi Arias sat down with Diana Alvear after her day in court during the sentencing phase, when she attempted to persuade a jury for a life sentence rather than the death penalty. In this extended interview, she talks about her comments in court and her thoughts of suicide.