The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 16, 2013

Arias lawyers wanted to withdraw but were denied

(Continued)

On Wednesday, the panel took less than three hours to determine that Arias should be eligible for death in the killing of her one-time lover after prosecutors proved the murder was especially cruel and heinous.

Arias, 32, acknowledged killing Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008, at his suburban Phoenix home after a day of sex. She initially denied any involvement then later blamed the attack on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she settled on self-defense.

On Thursday, the penalty phase of her trial begins. Prosecutors will call Alexander's family and others to testify in an effort to convince the panel that Arias should face the ultimate punishment.

Arias' defense lawyers will have her family members testify, and likely others who have known her over the years, in an attempt to gain sympathy from jurors to save her life. It's not yet known if Arias will testify.

Arias showed no emotion Wednesday after the jury returned a decision that was widely expected given the violent nature of the killing. She slashed Alexander's throat, stabbed him in the heart and shot him in the forehead.

The victim suffered nearly 30 knife wounds in what prosecutors described as an attack fueled by jealous rage after Alexander wanted to end his affair with Arias and prepared to take a trip to Mexico with another woman.

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