Home / National News / Jury Finds Jodi Arias Guilty of First-Degree Murder


(PHOENIX) — Jodi Arias was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder and will face the possibility of the death penalty in a hearing that will begin on Thursday.

Cheers erupted from the crowds waiting outside the courtroom in Maricopa County, Ariz., as Arias was convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in a vicious attack in 2008.

The case will now move directly into its sentencing phase, with Arias and the jury appearing back in court Thursday to begin arguing over whether she deserves to be condemned to death.

If sentenced to death, Arias, 32, will be the third woman on Arizona’s death row.

Arias, dressed in a black suit and wearing glasses, smiled at her family as she entered the courtroom shortly after 4:30 p.m. ET Wednesday.

As the verdict was read by the court’s clerk, Arias winced and teared up briefly. Her attorney, Jennifer Wilmott, rubbed her arm.

Alexander’s family members, seated in the front row of the gallery behind the prosecution, smiled and cried as the verdict was read, hugging and kissing one another. Alexander’s siblings have sat through each day of the four-month trial.

Arias’ mother, seated behind her daughter in the court’s gallery, cried as well.

On Thursday, the jury will return to the courtroom and both sides will begin the aggravating factor phase of the case. Prosecutor Juan Martinez will need to prove one aggravating factor, convincing the jury that the murder was cruel, heinous, or depraved, in order to warrant the death penalty for Arias. The aggravator phase is expected to take a day.

If the jury determines there was no aggravating factor involved in Alexander’s murder, the death penalty will be off the table and the judge will sentence Arias in 30 to 60 days.

If the jury is convinced of aggravating factors, the case will move into its final penalty phase.

After both sides give opening statements, Alexander’s family members will have the opportunity to speak directly to the jury about the impact the crime has had on their lives. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense will be allowed to question the victim’s survivors.

Both sides will then present witnesses to argue the existence of mitigating factors before Arias is allowed to make a statement to the jury. The jurors will ultimately decide whether Arias will be executed or not.

The Maricopa County prosecutor’s office released a statement following Wednesday’s verdict.

“Today’s verdict closes the guilt phase of State v. Jodi Ann Arias. However, the pursuit of justice on behalf of Travis Alexander continues. We look forward to the next phase of the proceedings, where the State will present evidence to prove the murder was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner,” the office said in a statement.

The verdict brought to a close nearly five years of prosecutors and Arias’s attorneys arguing over whether she was culpable for the death of Alexander, a 27-year-old Mormon church elder and businessman whom Arias met at a networking event.

According to court testimony, Arias drove from California to Alexander’s home in Arizona, had sex with him, took nude photos of him, and then stabbed him 27 times, shot him in the head, and slit his throat.

Arias had claimed throughout the trial that she killed Alexander in self-defense after he flew into a violent rage because she dropped his camera while taking nude photos of him in the shower on June 4, 2008.

She initially denied being at his home and killing him, and later said masked intruders murdered him. She later admitted killing Alexander, but insisted it was in self-defense. Her attorneys had urged the jury to find Arias guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.

The lurid details of the trial gained national and international interest, as Arias claimed that the devout Mormon Alexander was sexually abusive, physically abusive, and a sexual deviant. The prosecution dismissed her claims as outright lies.

Testimony in the trial began in January and wrapped up on Friday, May 3.

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