Jury undecided on sentence in Jodi Arias case

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Jury undecided on sentence in Jodi Arias case

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(CBS/AP) -- After launching deliberations Tuesday afternoon, a jury weighing whether or not Jodi Arias will be sentenced to death has announced they are unable to reach a unanimous decision.

After briefly entering the courtroom just before noon on Wednesday, a judge ordered them to continue deliberating.

The judge encouraged them to "write down issues, questions, laws or facts on which we can possibly help."

"I am merely trying to be responsive to your apparent need for help," the judge said. I do not wish to force a verdict."

Arias, 32, was found guilty of first-degree murder by the same jury in the 2008 killing of her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Under Arizona law, if the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision on sentencing, the panel will be dismissed and jury selection would begin anew, to seat another panel to hear arguments only regarding Arias' sentence. If a second panel were unable reach a unanimous agreement, the judge would sentence Arias to life in prison, with or without the possibility of release after 25 years. 

Arias said publicly after her conviction that she would rather die than spend the rest of her life in prison. But appealing to the jury Tuesday, she reversed her request, asking for life in prison for the sake of her family.

"Either way, I'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison, whether it will be shortened or not," Arias said. "If it's shortened, the people who will hurt the most are my family. I'm asking you please, don't do that to them."

Arias said she didn't intend to cause pain to the Alexander family and called Travis Alexander's death "the worst mistake of my life."

Prosecutor Juan Martinez countered the defense's plea for life in prison, arguing that death, though a difficult choice, was the only appropriate sentence.