As Jodi Arias waits for a second sentencing trial to determine her fate her lawyers have started to make the case that she is "mentally ill" and therefore unfit to face execution, according to the Arizona Republic.
After convicting Arias of the murder of Travis Alexander and determining that Arias' crime was brutal enough to merit the death penalty the jury was unable to decide what sentence to give Arias.
By law in Arizona the state has the option to draft a new jury and restart the penalty phase of the trial; if the second jury can't decide a ruling on the death penalty Arias will receive life in prison. Initial indications were that the state would choose to do that but since then Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has suggested that they would be willing to make a deal.
"If they were to make an offer for resolution, I think I have an ethical responsibility to consider that," Montgomery told the Arizona Republic.
In response to Montgomery's statement Arias' attorneys, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Wilmott issued a statement directly to the Arizona Republic.
"If the diagnosis made by the State's psychologist is correct, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office is seeking to oppose the death penalty on a mentally ill woman who has no prior criminal history," the statement said. "Despite Mr. Montgomery's statements to the media, it is not incumbent upon Ms. Arias' defense counsel to resolve this case."
"Instead the choice to end this case sits squarely with Mr. Montgomery and his office," the statement continued. "It is solely for them to determine if continuing to pursue a death sentence on Ms. Arias, who is already facing a mandatory life sentence, is a good and proper use of taxpayer resources."
Judge Sherry Stephens has set July 18 as the tentative date for seating a new jury if the State wishes to continue to pursue the death penalty.