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Jodi Arias' defense costs taxpayers $2M+

Published January 27, 2014 8:20 pm

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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Phoenix • Jodi Arias' legal bills have topped $2 million, a tab being footed by Arizona taxpayers that will only continue to climb with a new penalty phase set for March, officials said Monday.

Arias, 33, was convicted of murder in May, but the jury couldn't reach a verdict on her sentence. Prosecutors are now pursuing a second penalty phase with a new jury to try to get the death penalty. Trial is set for March 17.

The former waitress and aspiring photographer has been held in jail in Maricopa County awaiting her fate while her legal bills continue to mount.

As of Monday, the county had paid $2,150,536 for her court-appointed attorneys, expert witnesses and other costs associated with her case, county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick told The Associated Press.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has refused to provide a tally of how much it has cost to prosecute the case, citing a court order that attorneys not discuss Arias-related matters.

Arias admitted she killed her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home but claimed it was self-defense. He suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, had his throat slit and was shot in the forehead in what prosecutors argued was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage when Alexander wanted to end their affair.

The case captured headlines worldwide and became a cable television staple with its tales of sex, lies and a brutal killing while every minute of the trial was broadcast live. This time around, the judge will be limiting media coverage in hopes of avoiding the same publicity.