The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 9, 2013

Arias trial now turns to whether she lives or dies

(Continued)

Alexander's family members wept and hugged each other after the verdict. They thanked prosecutor Juan Martinez and the lead detective on the case, but declined comment until after sentencing.

Alexander's friend, Chris Hughes, said he was happy with the verdict, pointing out a bold proclamation Arias made in one of her jailhouse interviews that she wouldn't be found guilty.

"She said, 'No jury would convict me. Mark my words.' This jury convicted her," Hughes said. "Luckily, we had 12 smart jurors. They nailed it."

When asked about Alexander's family, Arias told the station, "I just hope that now that a verdict has been rendered, that they'll be able to find peace."

Arias seemed to cry silently when asked about her mother. With tears falling, she said her mom "has been a saint and I haven't treated her very well."

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said no more media interviews with Arias would be granted. She has been placed on suicide watch.

Outside court, more than 200 spectators and reporters watched for the verdict on their smartphones. A ripple of relief spread as people learned the result. The crowd cheered, with some people jumping, waving, high-fiving and dancing in approval.

Hughes said it was frustrating to hear the defense besmirch his friend's reputation during the trial, but praised the jurors for the verdict. He said he and the Alexander family were shocked by the international attention the case had received.

"Travis was grandiose, so it's interesting how this played out ... it is a bit of a circus. We were all surprised that it's like this," he said.

Testimony began in early January. 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. She also sent out tweets via an intermediary, attracting tens of thousands of followers.

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