The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 8, 2013

Jury reaches verdict in Jodi Arias trial in Ariz.

PHOENIX (AP) — Jurors reached a verdict Wednesday in the trial of Jodi Arias after deliberating about 15 hours over four days on whether the former waitress should be convicted of murder in the 2008 fatal stabbing and shooting of her one-time boyfriend.

Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Travis Alexander, a motivational speaker and salesman, at his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities said she planned the attack in a jealous rage after being rejected by the victim while he pursued other women.

Arias initially denied involvement and later blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense.

Jurors got the case Friday afternoon. They reached a decision late Wednesday morning. It was scheduled to be announced at 1:30 p.m. local time.

The verdict will not necessarily bring an end to the trial. If the jury convicts Arias of first- or second-degree murder or manslaughter, a second phase of the trial will begin with the same panel deciding whether the killing was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner. The outcome of their decision on aggravating factors will affect how harsh Arias' sentence could be. Both sides may call witnesses and show evidence during a mini trial of sorts.

Testimony began in early January, with Arias later spending 18 days on the witness stand. The trial quickly snowballed into a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage from cable news networks, and spawning a virtual cottage industry for talk shows, legal experts and even Arias, who used her notoriety to sell artwork she made in jail.

Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead and had his throat slit before Arias dragged his body into his shower. He was found by friends about five days later.

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