The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 8, 2013

Jury reaches verdict in Jodi Arias trial in Ariz.

(Continued)

Arias said she recalled Alexander attacking her in a fury after a day of sex. She said Alexander came at her "like a linebacker," body-slamming her to the tile floor. She managed to wriggle free and ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf. She said she fired in self-defense but had no memory of stabbing him.

Arias acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi to avoid suspicion. She said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth at the time, but insisted at her trial she wasn't lying to jurors.

As deliberations dragged on, dozens of people gathered daily on the courthouse steps waiting for a verdict.

If Arias is convicted of first-degree murder, and the jury finds it involved the aggravating factors, she faces either life in prison or a death sentence. However, if jurors cannot reach a unanimous agreement on the death penalty, the judge will sentence Arias to either the rest of her life in prison, or life with the possibility of release after 25 years.

Jurors also have the option of convicting Arias of second-degree murder if they believe she didn't premeditate the killing but still intentionally caused Alexander's death. If convicted of that charge, she could be sentenced to 10 to 22 years in prison.

Manslaughter is an option if the panel believes Arias didn't plan the killing in advance and the attack occurred in the heat of passion after "adequate" provocation from Alexander. A conviction on this charge carries a sentence of seven to 21 years in prison.

If they believe she killed Alexander in self-defense, Arias would be acquitted and would walk out jail after being incarcerated for more than four years.

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