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Verdict day: Arias juror considered not showing up

NEED TO KNOW
  • '[When] it was time to determine life or death, it was excruciating,' Diane Schwartz said
  • Schwartz reveals what made her vote for death
  • Penalty phase verdict day: 'No way we were going to reach a consensus,' she added
Verdict day: Arias juror considered not showing up

The following is an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview with Arias juror No. 6 Diane Schwartz.

Question 1
SAYING YOU CAN SENTENCE SOMEONE TO DEATH AND ACTUALLY DOING IT -- ARE THEY TWO DIFFERENT THINGS?

Diane Schwartz:
They are definitely two different processes.  I started my career in law enforcement when I was 21 and ended as director of a 911 center.  My opinion had always been, “If you do the crime, you pay the time."  I was a strong supporter of the death penalty. But once we were finished with the aggravating phase and it was time to determine life or death, it was excruciating.   We had a short deliberation that first day.  I went home and was up all evening.  I spent the night praying and jotting down notes.  In the end, I wanted to be sure of two things:  First, if I sat down with Jodi face-to-face, would I still be comfortable with my decision? And secondly, when I meet my maker, will he be supportive of my decision?  In the end, I felt a death sentence was appropriate.  Jodi had committed a gruesome crime, and she must face the ultimate accountability.   When we went into the jury room the next day, I was the first to vote -- and I voted for the death penalty.  It was an overwhelming feeling to have Jodi’s fate in our hands -- until I put it in this context:  Jodi's actions and her continual untruthfulness caused her fate to be in our hands.  We did not put her fate in our hands. She put her fate in our hands.  

Question 2
WHAT MADE YOU VOTE FOR DEATH?

Diane Schwartz:
There were four key components that I considered:
1. The brutality in which she killed Travis
2. The lies and continued cover-up that supported pre-meditated murder.
3. The victim impact statements from Travis' siblings.  That's when the tragedy of it all really came to life.  After hearing Steven and Samantha speak, I said to myself, "No way does Jodi's life outweigh Travis' life".
4. Lack of remorse

Question 3
YOU MOUTHED "I'M SORRY" TO TRAVIS' FAMILY -- WHY?  

Diane Schwartz:
It was not planned.  It just came out.  I remember being in the hallway before the [penalty phase] verdict was delivered and I could barely stand.  I didn't want to go into that room. Juror No. 7 was standing next to me and he kept telling me, "Yes, you can do this."   I'm typically a very strong person, but it took every ounce of energy and courage to walk into that courtroom, maintain my composure and not cry.  When Judge Stephens began reading the verdict and her voice broke -- that's what put me over the edge.  And then you had the emotion from the family.  Prosecutor Juan Martinez and Detective Esteban Flores weren’t even looking at us.  It was too much.  I shouldn't have taken it so personally, but I did.  I looked over at the family and it just came out, "I'm sorry".    It was truly heartfelt.  I have no apologies for doing it.  

Question 4
YOU CONSIDERED NOT SHOWING UP ON VERDICT DAY FOR THE PENALTY PHASE -- WHY?  

Diane Schwartz:
I had so much emotion and anxiety about not being able to reach a unanimous decision.  So much of my life and my career has been based on consensus:  "Is everyone okay?  Are we all in agreement?' That's how I've lived my life.   But then, what felt like the first time ever, there was no consensus.  I felt that as a jury we did not do what we were asked to do.  It was a horrendous task and I was feeling especially raw.  I woke up that morning knowing there was no way we were going to reach a consensus and I thought, "I can't go today".  And then I began to think about the anguish that my absence would cause an alternate juror and I just couldn't put that on another person.  

Question 5
JODI TOLD A REPORTER SHE FELT BETRAYED BY THE JURY -- REACTION?

Diane Schwartz:
My general response is, "I'm sorry Jodi", but of course, I'm really not sorry.    We held up our part of the bargain.  We showed up every day and we did our job.  Nearly six months and there was not one day that a juror was even late.   I filled up eight notebooks and took 476 pages worth of notes.  Jodi Arias raised her hand and swore to tell the truth, and all we really got from her were lies meant to manipulate us.  She tried to use us and that did her no good at all.  I don't think any of us liked Jodi Arias, but some did have compassion for her.  Their personal perception guided them in the direction of compassion.   Jodi Arias was too much of liar for me to feel compassion for her.  For me, the longer she sat on the witness stand, the less believable she became.   I not only listened to her, but I followed her mannerisms.  Her rambling really got to me.   I never felt like I was getting the real story.    I felt like I was getting played.    One moment she has recollection of the most minute detail, and then when it comes to the stabbing, the fog sets in and she has zero recollection.  

Question 6
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE OTHER JURORS?

Diane Schwartz:
I have absolute respect for all of them.  I respect the entire process.  We couldn't have had a more cohesive group.  Sure, there were moments of deliberation when each of us felt frustrated.  But we were never angry.  It was never contentious.  There was really no drama.  I consider each of them a friend.  

*Although jurors were unable to come to a unanimous decision in the penalty phase, Arias' first-degree murder conviction still stands, as does the jurors decision that Travis Alexander’s murder was “especially cruel,” which was an aggravating factor that made Arias eligible for the death penalty. The new penalty phase with a new jury is scheduled for July 18.

Dr. Drew On Call airs Monday through Thursday on HLN at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Facebook and Twitter @DrDrewHLN.

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Sorry, Nurmi... you're stuck with Jodi Arias!
Jodi Arias | See all 1152 items Sorry, Nurmi... you're stuck with Jodi Arias!

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