Hung jury: Jodi Arias spared death -- for now

NEED TO KNOW
  • Fate is still in limbo after jury fails to reach a unanimous decision. Watch HLN for the latest
  • A new penalty phase -- with a new jury -- is scheduled to begin July 18
Hung jury: Jodi Arias spared death -- for now

Hung jury for Jodi Arias

Hung jury for Jodi Arias

The penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial may be over, but her fate remains in limbo.

On Monday at 7 p.m., HLN's Nancy Grace takes you back to the beginning with footage of Arias being interrogated by police. It's video the jury never got to see! Then at 10 p.m., Nancy shares rare jailhouse interviews that displays Arias' erratic behavior.

Judge Sherry Stephens declared a mistrial late Thursday in the Jodi Arias trial, because the jury could not reach a unanimous decision about whether Arias should live or die.

The new penalty phase is scheduled to begin July 18. Stephens also scheduled a status hearing on June 20 to check in with the attorneys about their preparations for the new phase of the trial.

Arias sat staring straight at the jurors with a frown on her face as the verdict was read. She took a deep breath and began to cry as she found out she was still facing the death penalty.

Alexander's family in attendance sobbed and clutched each other as they realized they would have to relive a large part of the trial.

HLN's producer in the courtroom says two jurors were openly crying as the verdict was read. The jurors refused to talk to the media, and immediately left the courtroom.

The judge then thanked the jurors for their service and dismissed them from the case.

Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff, says Arias will stay in his custody at the Estrella Jail until the court renders a final decision about her fate.

The mistrial only applies to the penalty phase of the trial. Arias' first-degree murder conviction still stands, and so does the jurors' finding that Arias murdered Alexander in a "cruel manner."

A new jury will be selected, and this new jury will only decide whether Arias will be sentenced to death via lethal injection or life in prison.

If the second jury were to say Arias can live out the remainder of her days behind bars, Stephens would decide whether she will get life without parole, or life with the eligibility of parole after 25 years.

During the penalty phase, Arias asked the jury, in a 19-minute speech, to spare her life.

Arias told the jury that killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander was the worst thing she has ever done and that she's still horrified by the violence she is capable of.

“Either way, I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison. It’ll either be shortened or not. If it’s shortened, the people who will hurt the most is my family. I’m asking you please, please don’t do that to them. I’ve already hurt them so badly along with so many other people. I want everyone’s healing to begin and I want everyone’s pain to stop," said Arias.

HLN is live-blogging the Jodi Arias trial. Click here to read HLN's live blog about Monday's proceedings. Click here to read about the victim impact statements of Alexander's siblings. Read below for minute-by-minute updates from the trial (Best read from the bottom up):

7:23 p.m. ET: The jury has not reached a unanimous verdict.

7:22 p.m. ET: The judge is on the bench, and the jury is being seated.

7:20 p.m. ET: Arias appears to be crying, blowing her nose while the women on her team try to comfort her.

7:18 p.m. ET: Jodi Arias appears to be very upset, and her mitigation expert looks like she's giving her a pep talk.

7:12 p.m. ET: The courtroom doors are open.

7:10 p.m. ET: The media has still not been allowed into the the courtroom.

7:09 p.m. ET: So far the jury has deliberated for more than 13 hours and 30 minutes.

7:08 p.m. ET:  Jodi Arias and the attorneys are in the courtroom.

6:56 p.m. ET: Another uniformed deputy has entered the courtroom using the doorway the jury uses.

6:54 p.m. ET: From HLN's producer in the courtroom:

Three uniformed deputiies were added to the three marshalls already in the courtroom. These extra bodies weren't here when we had a question this morning. Also different for this "question" the guards are keeping media from entering the courtroom until the Arias family gets here. The Arias family were not present for the question this morning. Martinez and Alexander family members and victim advocates are here.

6:44 p.m. ET: Extra security is going into the courtroom.

6:35 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Juan Martinez has arrived at the courthouse.

6:32 p.m. ET: The Court PIO tells HLN that there is a jury question, and the public will allowed in the courtroom shortly.

6:15 p.m. ET: From HLN's producer at the courthouse: Sky Hughes says she has word it's a jury question. She is a former close friend of Travis Alexander

6:13 p.m. ET: From HLN's producer at the court house: The court report Mike Babicky has been summoned to the courtroom, he said he got an email that he's needed. There's no sign of any other activity yet.

4:14 p.m. ET: From HLN's producer in the courthouse: A group of four jurors were escorted to the courthouse cafe, two stopped to get some food. Juror 16, stood, arms crossed looking very serious, no banter among this group.

2:13 p.m. ET: 

The Court has placed the previous two questions the jury asked under seal. HLN producers are checking to find out if  the latest jury question, number three, is under seal. There was a second question yesterday.
 
The first question may have been the one posed during the guilt phase. Jurors had a question about an hour before they rendered their first degree murder verdict. That question is also under seal.

2:04 p.m. ET: Arias was discussing something intensely with her attorney Jennifer Willmott when judge Sherry Stephens announced the jury had another question.

2:01 p.m. ET: The jury had a question, and response was prepared and sent back to the jury. It is not clear what the jury asked.

12:45 p.m. ET: (Thursday): The jury has started to deliberate Arias' fate.

7:30 p.m. ET (Wednesday): The jurors have gone home for the evening. They will pick back up deliberating Thursday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

2:56 p.m. ET: The judge has ordered the jury to resume deliberations. The jury has left the courtroom.

2:55 p.m. ET: The jury has notified the judge they cannot reach a unanimous decision. Judge Stephens is giving them instructions to help them reach a verdict. 

2:53 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated in the courtroom.

2:50 p.m. ET: Judge Sherry Stephens is on the bench, and she said the jury has a question. The attorneys are reviewing the question at a sidebar now.

2:30 p.m. ET: The parties have been summoned to the courtroom. Alexander's family members are being seated in the courtroom now. HLN is trying to find out more about what is happening in court.

2:03 p.m. ET: HLN's Jean Casarez says the jury showed up Wednesday casually dressed and with a lot of food. She says it is unlikely the jury slept on a verdict last night, because they brought so much food.

2:00 p.m. ET: Jennifer Willmott just left the courthouse grounds accompanied by three county sheriff's deputies.

1:54 p.m. ET: HLN's Beth Karas says it was not a jury question, but the judge read an instruction that was inadvertently left out of the instructions given to the jury Tuesday about the meaning of life in prison.

Here are some more notes from HLN's producer in the courtroom about what just happened in court:

Judge: If you unanimously find the defendant should be sentenced to life, life without the possibility of release means the defendant will not be eligible to be released... At this time the attorneys will be able to make a brief argument about this instruction.

Willmott: If you choose life in prison, she will never get out ... at this time there is no procedure to give her parole. She will die in prison. Sentence her to die in prison.

Martinez: The jury instructions speaks for itself, if you unanimously [condemn her to life in prison] the judge will find the possibility of release after 25 years' eligibility -- it's the judge's decison, not yours. Once the defendant has been given a right -- just because there's no procedure now -- she will be given a legal right to be eligible.

1:45 p.m. ET: From HLN's producer at the courthouse:

"The judge read an instruction to them regarding life in prison. Each attorney, Jennifer Willmott and Juan Martinez, gave a brief argument with Jennifer also getting a brief rebuttal. Jennifer argued that a life term would essentially mean life, because there is no procedure in place that would allow Arias to be paroled."

1:42 p.m . ET: Arias seems to be in a good spirits. She was seen laughing and smiling with a sheriffs' deputy.

1:40 p.m. ET: The attorneys were just arguing about what the life sentence means. The jury has left the courtroom.

1:36 p.m. ET: The jury is in the courtroom, and the judge is reading an instruction to them. HLN producers are trying to find out more information about what is going on in the courtroom.

12:58 p.m. ET (Wednesday): The 12 members of the jury have assembled in the deliberation room. They will now begin to decide Arias' fate.

7:25 p.m. ET (Tuesday): The jury has left for the day.

6:02 p.m. ET: The jury is now deliberating whether to sentence Arias to death or life in prison.

5:58 p.m. ET: Willmott has wrapped her rebuttal argument. Judge Stephens is giving the jurors their final instructions before the begin to deliberate.

5:56 p.m. ET: "Can you see there is still value in her life?" said Willmott.

5:55 p.m. ET: “Her family was not there for her when she needed them. And it’s sad and so hard to say when they sit right here and have to listen to that. But you know what? When she was a teenager and she needed them, they were not there,” said Willmott.

5:53 p.m. ET: “We’re not talking about whether or not to convict. We’re talking about whether or not to kill. And so when we talk about that, it matters that she was 27 years old and she had no criminal history. It matters that she hadn’t done anything wrong in her life before that. It matters, when you make that decision to give her life in prison,” said Willmott.

5:50 p.m. ET: Willmott said at this point, Arias is begging for her life she is not entitled.

5:49 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott stood behind Arias, and touched her shoulders and said the question before the jury is whether or not they kill her.

5:48 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated.

5:47 p.m. ET: The judge is on the bench. The defense has the chance to give a rebuttal argument if they choose.

5:27 p.m. ET: Martinez has wrapped his closing argument. Judge Stephens has recessed court for 15 minutes. The live blog will pick back up when court resumes at 5:45 p.m. ET.

“You have a duty and that duty really means that you actually do the honest, right thing, even though it may be difficult. And in this case… the only thing you can do based on the mitigating circumstances and their lack of, is to return a verdict of death,” said Martinez.

5:25 p.m. ET:

5:22 p.m. ET: Martinez says the mitigating factors aren't strong enough when you look at the horrific nature of the crime.

5:21 p.m. ET: "Don't most people want to improve their life? Don't most people want to make the best of their life? She's doing the bare minimum. The absolute bare minimum that everybody does," said Martinez.

5:19 p.m. ET: Martinez says there is no evidence of abuse but Arias likes to play the victim.

"Are there any medical reports to support it? Are there any police reports? Are there any 911 calls?" said Martinez.

5:18 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

5:15 p.m. ET: Martinez said Arias claims to have lack of support from the family, but her family has attended the trial almost everyday.

“The defendant also tells you that, with regards to another mitigating factor, is that she lacks support from her family. And then she talks out of the other side of her mouth and says to you, ‘Well, they’ve been here throughout this whole trial.’ Well which one is it? Have they been here throughout this whole trial or have they not? Have they failed to support her or not?” said Martinez.

5:14 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

5:11 p.m. ET:

“Weren’t you present when she sat in that witness chair after taking an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and look each and every one of you in the eye and started to talk to you about the events leading up to the crime? Well most of you know what perjury is. That doesn’t mean she has been convicted – no one’s saying that. Just because you’re not convicted does not mean you have not engaged in criminal conduct,” said Martinez. “Is that really a good friend who will come up to you and lie to you? No, that is not what a friendship is.”

5:10 p.m. ET:

“She showed you pictures of her growing up. Mr. Alexander is no longer going to have any more yesterdays. He’s not going to have or be able to enjoy the experiences she told you she’s going to miss: holding a nephew, missing Christmas – she told you about all of that,” said Martinez.

5:09 p.m. ET: Martinez is going through every mitigation factor the defense has mention and explaining how they are irrelevant to the crime. The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

5:06 p.m. ET: Martinez said Arias' age has nothing to do with her actions. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with judge.

“She wasn’t 18, she wasn’t 19 years old. She wasn’t anything like that. She had already experienced life,” said Martinez. “She had experimented sexually. She had friends, according to her. She had had a good family. She had been out in the world on her own…”

5:04 p.m. ET:

“It’s an entitlement road that they want you to travel when they talk to you about the fact that she’s a good artist. It doesn’t mean anything. All it means is, give her special or preferential treatment – that’s what that means,” said Martinez.

5:03 p.m. ET: Martinez said when the defense says she is a talented artist what they are really doing is asking that she get special treatment, because she has a skill.

5:01 p.m. ET: Martinez is reminding the jury that if they give Arias life in prison she could be eligible for parole after 25 years.

4:59 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

4:58 p.m. ET: Arias is looking away as autopsy photos are displayed in courtroom.

“What you’re back there to do is find the facts. You don’t advocate one side, you don’t advocate the other. You don’t go out on a limb and you don’t investigate to see if there are any mitigating circumstances,” said Martinez. "For example, you don’t say that she saved him from ever getting cancer."

 

4:54 p.m. ET:  Martinez may have tried to display autopsy photos to the jury, but the defense objected.The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

4:53 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Juan Martinez begins his closing argument by saying Travis Alexander will be forever young.

4:52 p.m. ET: Arias appears to be getting upset as Wilmott wraps her closing argument by asking the jury to save her life.

“Jodi took Travis away. She took him away from his family, and she took him away from this world. But two wrongs do not make a right. Jodi can still contribute to this world. Her life still has value and you have a choice,” said Willmott.
 

4:50 p.m. ET:

“She was once a bubbly and happy little girl. Somebody who always had a nose in a book, somebody who loved to write in her journals and somebody who loved to spend her days reading. She will be haunted by what she did, by what she did to Travis’ family, by what she did to Travis and by what she’s done to her own family. She is haunted by that,” said Willmott.

4:48 p.m. ET: Willmott said Arias did not choose to have a personality disorder.

"Having any personality disorder is not an excuse. It is not an excuse for killing Alexander... It is another reason you have to be merciful," said Willmott.

4:47 p.m. ET:

“Whether you believe that Travis physically abused Jodi or not, we know that he verbally abused her – we know this. Because you’ve seen the hateful words. You’ve seen what they have said… You have to know that if Travis were sitting next to me in this case, the prosecutor would be using those same words, those same hateful words, against him,” said Willmott.

4:45 p.m. ET:

4:44 p.m. ET:

“When her little sister Angela was born, things changed. Jodi could feel it. Jodi all of a sudden was no longer getting along with her mother. She couldn’t do anything right in her mother’s eyes. She was getting grounded for unexplainable reasons. And when that happened, everything changed for Jodi,” said Willmott.

4:43 p.m. ET: Willmott said yes Arias lied to herself about her relationship with Alexander.

"No person wants to be called those horrible things," said Willmott. "But it is not an excuse to kill Travis... However, abuse is a mitigating factor."

4:40 p.m. ET:

“This has been a shock to the people that knew Jodi… it has been a shock to think that she was capable of such violence… So what we have to look at is why? Not excuses but why? We have to look at what changed the trajectory of her life. What is it that made her come here? Given all her talents she could have been a famous artist. She could have been an excellent sales woman. She could have been a defense attorney sitting next to me. But she’s here, sitting next to me as a defendant. What changed the trajectory of her life?” said Willmott.

4:39 p.m. ET: Willmott said Arias has "almost no ego."

4:38 p.m. ET:

'If she is given the chance for life in prison, she will continue working to improve her existence and to add something to this world… she has goals, even in prison she can have goals,” said Willmott.

4:37 p.m. ET: Willmott said Arias could have been a famous artist or a successful saleswoman, but abuse and neglect changed her life's trajectory.

4:35 p.m. ET:

“The prosecution wants to paint her as a one-dimensional character -- a one-dimensional character who is defined by nothing else other than what she did to Travis. They want to do that because it makes it easy for you to execute her. But she is not a one-dimensional character. She had made so many other people happy in her life prior to coming here,” said Willmott.

4:33 p.m. ET: Arias is playing close attention to Willmott's closing argument. She has not showed any emotion so far.

4:31 p.m. ET:

“These are moral decisions for you to make – your own personal decisions,” said Willmott.

4:29 p.m. ET: Willmott said Arias still has value in her life giving the example that she was a good friend.

4:28 p.m. ET:

4:27 p.m. ET:

“The state has attempted to shape this case into something to be nothing more than lies and manipulation. Like somehow, every word out of Jodi’s mouth has been nothing more than a lie – and her own witnesses. That’s what the state wants you to believe. And that somehow, lying is appropriate now. That somehow, the state believes, because there’s been lying that she should get the death penalty for that,” said Willmott.

4:26 p.m. ET: Willmott said mitigating factors don't need to be connected to the crime.

4:25 p.m. ET: "Mitigating factors are not excuse. They are not an excuse for what she did," said Willmott.

4:24 p.m. ET: Willmott said it is up to each individual juror to make up their mind whether Arias should live or die.

4:21 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott is giving her closing argument.

“People are far better than their very worst deed. And Jodi Arias is a far better person than her very worst deed,” said Willmott.

Willmott said Arias is better person that her worst deed, and the jurors will have to make a moral decision about whether she will live or die.

4:18 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated.

4:17 p.m. ET: Judge Sherry Stephens is on the bench.

4:14 p.m. ET: HLN's producer in the courtroom the family members have been seated, and court should resume shortly.

2:40 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens has recessed court for lunch. The live blog will pick back up when court resumes at 4:15 p.m. ET.

2:34 p.m. ET: The jurors do not have to get on which mitigation factor is present in this case.

2:32 p.m. ET: Stephens told the jurors the can use Alexander's siblings victim impact statements to rebut mitigation.

2:30 p.m. ET:

2:29 p.m. ET: During this final stage of the trial, defense attorney Kirk Nurmi will get to have the last word with a rebuttal argument.

2:26 p.m. ET: Stephens is now reading the jury instructions. She said the jury cannot be swayed by bias or sympathy.

2:24 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens is handing out copies of the jury instructions to the jurors.

2:16 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge. Their closing arguments are next.

2:15 p.m. ET: Arias said she has made comments in the public that she preferred the death penalty, but now because of her family she is asking for her life to be spared. Arias has finished her statement. The judge has sent the jury out of the courtroom.

“Either way I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison. It’ll either be shortened or not. If it’s shortened, the people who will hurt the most is my family. I’m asking you please, please don’t do that to them. I’ve already hurt them so badly along with so many other people. I want everyone’s healing to begin and I want everyone’s pain to stop. Thank you," said Arias.

2:14 p.m. ET:

2:13 p.m. ET: Arias said before she killed Alexander she did not know she was capable of such violence. She is still horrified by what she did.

2:11 p.m. ET: Arias voiced cracked as she struggled to hold back tears when she was speaking about how she will never become a mother.

2:09 p.m. ET: Arias is periodically showing pictures of her family to the jury.

2:07 p.m. ET:

“If I get permission, I’d like to implement a recycling program… each week huge loads of waste are hauled off to landfill. A substantial proportion of that could be kept out of landfill and recycled instead. It may even create new jobs for the people there. This is one small thing that could have a positive and far-reaching impact on the community and planet,” said Arias. “I’d like to start a book club or reading group. Something that brings people together in a positive and constructive way so that we can share and recommend other good books and stimulate discussions of a higher nature.”

2:05 p.m. ET:

2:04 p.m. ET:

On Alexander’s grandmother, who recently passed away:

“To know now that both are gone and that I may have also inadvertently induced her passing destroys me,” said Arias.

2:03 p.m. ET: Arias said she lives she will continue to donate her hair to locks of love. She said also wants to help women in prison learn how to read.

“Every time that I’ve had the thought or desire to commit suicide, there’s one element that is always – almost always – caused me to waiver. They’re sitting right over there. They’re my family,” Arias said as she started to cry.

2:02 p.m. ET: Arias is reading her statement from pieces of notebook paper.

2:00 p.m. ET:

1:58 p.m. ET: “My mom and I were silent for a few moments when she finally voiced exactly what I was thinking. She said, ‘I know they’re going through hell.’ Yet nothing drove that point home for me more than when I heard them speak last week. I never meant to cause them so much pain," said Arias.

1:55 p.m. ET: Arias said she never meant to cause Alexander's siblings so much pain.

1:54 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens is informing the jury that Womack was going to speak to the jury, but she is unavailable to testify. Arias is approaching the podium to speak.

1:51 p.m. ET: The judge is on the bench. Arias is about to speak.

1:36 p.m. ET: Arias, clerk and reporter just came into the courtroom.
Now Arias has disappeared into the holding cell area with her mitigation expert.

1:28 p.m. ET: From HLN's producer in the courtroom: We are in a holding pattern. Prosecutor and Flores remain  at counsel table waiting patiently. Jodi and her attorneys remain in chambers. The mitigation specialist Maria Delarosa also waits for ex-parte hearing to end.

1:01 p.m. ET: HLN's Jean Casarez says the courtroom is packed. Arias' family members including her mother and father are seated and waiting for today's proceedings to get underway.

12:43 p.m. ET: Arias just came into the courtroom wearing all black, and she immediately went into the judge's chambers with her attorneys.

12:38 p.m. ET: Alexander's family members are being seated. Court should start any minute.

12:32 p.m. ET: Jodi will address the jury from a podium that is being placed in front of the jury box. The attorneys are in the courtroom. Arias has not been brought into the courtroom yet.

12:12 p.m. ET: From HLN's Jean Casarez:

Yesterday, Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi asked for a stay of the sentencing proceedings to seek special action relief from the appellate court.

I just called the Court of Appeals Division One here in Arizona to ask if the Arias defense has filed a Petition for Special Action Relief.

A search was done, and I was told nothing has been filed.

A request for Special Action Relief would be asking the appellate court to consider what was denied at the trial level by Judge Stephens...(granting a  mistrial and granting the defense motion for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel).    

The defense can also bypass the appellate court and go straight to the Supreme Court.

12:11 p.m. ET:

Jodi Arias may ask the jury to spare her life today.

Her statement, which may attempt to appeal directly to the jurors' sense of humanity, will be the finale to a nearly six-month courtroom drama.

The jurors will be hearing from Arias for the second time in the trial. The last time she spoke in court, she spent 18 days on the witness stand answering more than 5,400 questions. Jurors do not know that she told a local TV station after the verdict that she preferred death over spending the rest of her life in prison.

Arias was convicted of first-degree murder on May 8 for the grisly slaying of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. Last week, jurors reached their second verdict in the case, deciding that Arias murdered Alexander in a "cruel manner."

Read more: Alexander's siblings explain their loss to the jury

Monday's proceedings in court were atypical. Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi moved for a mistrial, and Judge Sherry Stephens denied it. Nurmi then asked Stephens for permission to withdraw from the case, which Stephens also promptly denied. Nurmi then announced that, because of the court's decisions, the defense would not call any witnesses during this stage of the trial. After a sidebar and closed-door meeting, Stephens abruptly adjourned court without giving a reason and simply told the jurors that court was unable to proceed. Stephens also said Arias will address the jury Tuesday.

Read more: Judge denies defense bid to quit Arias case

A possible reason for the delay could be that Arias' defense team may have asked for more time so Arias can prepare the statement she will give to the jury.

After Arias’ remarks, jurors will deliberate a third time to determine whether she is sentenced to life in prison or death via lethal injection.

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi has asked the jury to consider a wide variety of mitigating factors, including the fact that Arias has no prior criminal history, that she suffered abuse and neglect as a child, and that she is a “talented artist.”

The defense has also told the jurors they intend to display some of Arias' art to illustrate that her life behind bars may add value to society. It could be one of the most memorable moments of the trial.

Read more: Can Arias' art save her?

If the jurors decide not to sentence Arias to death, Stephens will either sentence her to life in prison without parole or life in prison with the eligibility for parole after 25 years.

 

Earlier Tuesday, Jodi Arias asked the jury -- in a 19-minute speech -- to spare her life.

Arias told the jury that killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander was the worst thing she has ever done, and that she's still horrified by the violence she is capable of.

“Either way, I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison. It’ll either be shortened or not. If it’s shortened, the people who will hurt the most is my family. I’m asking you please, please don’t do that to them. I’ve already hurt them so badly along with so many other people. I want everyone’s healing to begin and I want everyone’s pain to stop," said Arias.

Arias' voice cracked and she choked back tears as she told the jurors she would never become a mother, but said that despite spending the rest of her life in prison, her life would still have value to society.

"If I get permission, I’d like to implement a recycling program… each week, huge loads of waste are hauled off to landfill. A substantial proportion of that could be kept out of landfill and recycled instead. It may even create new jobs for the people there. This is one small thing that could have a positive and far-reaching impact on the community and planet,” said Arias. “I’d like to start a book club or reading group. Something that brings people together in a positive and constructive way so that we can share and recommend other good books and stimulate discussions of a higher nature.”

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