The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 15, 2013

Arias back in court as jury ponders death option

(Continued)

"I think this jury is going to listen to everything, but they're going to come back very quickly and find that indeed the state has shown beyond a reasonable doubt the crime was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner," Phoenix criminal defense lawyer Julio Laboy said. "This was a cruel death and one in which he (Alexander) knew he was dying."

Arias stabbed and slashed Alexander nearly 30 times, shot him in the forehead and slit his throat from ear to ear, leaving the motivational speaker and businessman nearly decapitated before she dragged his mutilated body into his shower where friends found him about five days later.

The 32-year-old Arias admitted killing her onetime boyfriend Alexander on June 4, 2008, at his suburban Phoenix home. She initially denied any involvement then later blamed masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense when the victim attacked her after a day of sex.

Prosecutors said she planned the killing in a jealous rage as Alexander wanted to end their affair and was planning to take a trip to Mexico with another woman.

Testimony began in early January. The jury reached its verdict last Wednesday after about 15 hours of deliberations over four days.

All 12 jurors — eight men and four women — unanimously agreed the killing was premeditated.

Minutes after her conviction last week, Arias granted an interview to Fox affiliate KSAZ while in a holding cell at the courthouse, only adding to the circus-like environment surrounding the trial, which has become a cable TV sensation with its graphic tales of sex, lies and violence.

"Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place," a tearful Arias said in the interview. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."

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