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Jodi Arias says she prefers death penalty

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:13 a.m. HST, May 09, 2013

PHOENIX » Jodi Arias spent 18 days on the stand sharing intimate, emotional and oftentimes X-rated details of her life before a rapt television and online audience. She had hoped it all might convince a jury that she killed her one-time boyfriend in self-defense.

But the eight men and four women on the panel didn't buy it, convicting Arias of first-degree murder after only about 15 hours of deliberations. Jurors will return to court Thursday to begin the next phase of the trial that could set the stage for Arias receiving a death sentence — a penalty she, herself, said she now desires in a stunning interview following her conviction.

Minutes after being convicted, Arias said she was overwhelmed and surprised because she didn't believe she committed first-degree murder.

"It was unexpected for me, yes, because there was no premeditation on my part," she told Fox affiliate KSAZ in the courthouse. Arias added she would "prefer to die sooner than later," rather than spending the rest of her life in prison.

The case elevated the unknown waitress and aspiring photographer to a household name, with a real-life story of love, betrayal and murder far more alluring than any made-for-TV movie. The crime itself was enough to grab headlines: Arias, a 32-year-old high school dropout, shot Travis Alexander in the forehead, stabbed him nearly 30 times and slit his throat from ear to ear, leaving the motivational speaker and businessman nearly decapitated.

She claimed he attacked her and she fought for her life. Prosecutors said she killed out of jealous rage after Alexander wanted to end their affair and planned to take a trip to Mexico with another woman.

Arias' four-month trial quickly became a media sensation — ratings gold for cable networks that could broadcast from inside the courtroom and feed an insatiable public appetite for true-crime drama delivered live and up-close. It was, for many, the horrible train wreck they just couldn't turn away from, even though they know they should.

Arias fought back tears as the verdict was announced Wednesday in the hushed, packed courtroom, while Alexander's family members wept and hugged each other. They wore blue ribbons and wristbands with the words "Justice For Travis." The family thanked prosecutor Juan Martinez and a key witness and said it appreciated the outpouring of support from the public.

Outside, a huge crowd that had gathered on the courthouse steps screamed, whistled and cheered the news in a case that has attracted fans from across the country who traveled to Phoenix to be close to the proceedings. Some chanted, "USA, USA, USA!"

Alexander's friend Chris Hughes said he was happy with the verdict, pointing out a bold proclamation that 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 said in her TV interview, "I just hope that now that a verdict has been rendered, that they'll be able to find peace."

Arias said she doesn't have access to the Internet in jail so she's been reading newspapers. She also told the station (http://bit.ly/15qG7aP) other inmates have wanted to shake her hand, give her a hug or get her autograph.

Testimony in Arias' trial 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.

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

The trial now moves into the so-called aggravation phase during which prosecutors will argue the killing was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner that should allow jurors to consider the death penalty. Both sides may call witnesses and show evidence. If the panel finds the aggravating factors exist, the trial then moves into the final penalty phase during which jurors will recommend either life in prison or death.

Authorities said Alexander fought for his life as Arias attacked him in a blitz, but he soon grew too weak to defend himself.

"Mr. Alexander did not die calmly," prosecutor Juan Martinez told jurors in opening statements.

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.

She 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. However, none of Arias' allegations that Alexander had physically abused her in the months before his death, that he owned a gun and had sexual desires for young boys, were corroborated by witnesses or evidence during the trial. She acknowledged lying repeatedly before and after her arrest but insisted she was telling the truth in court.

Arias spent 18 days on the witness stand describing an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, a shocking sexual relationship with Alexander, and her contention that he had grown physically violent.

Psychologist Richard Samuels testified for the defense that Arias suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative amnesia, which explained why she couldn't recall much from the day of the killing. Another defense witness, psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette, concluded that Arias was a battered woman.

Their testimony was crucial and aimed at convincing jurors that, one, Arias wasn't lying about her memory gaps from the day of the killing, and two, that she did suffer physical abuse by Alexander. Defense attorneys had to get jurors to believe that despite no evidence of Alexander ever having been violent in the past, he had attacked Arias on several occasions, and did so again on the day of his death.

After all, there was no dispute that Arias killed Alexander.

It was the first thing Arias' defense acknowledged as the trial began.

"Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander," Arias attorney Jennifer Willmott told jurors in opening statements. "There is no question about it. The million-dollar question is what would have forced her to do it?"

Martinez worked feverishly to attack the credibility of the defense experts, accusing them of having sympathy for Arias and offering biased opinions.

Aside from her lies, Arias had another formidable obstacle to overcome.

Her grandparents had reported a .25-caliber handgun stolen from their Northern California home about a week before Alexander's death — the same caliber used to shoot him — but Arias insisted she didn't take it. Authorities believe she brought it with her to kill him. The coincidence of the same caliber gun stolen from the home also being used to shoot Alexander was never resolved.

Meanwhile, the entire case devolved into a circus-like spectacle attracting dozens of enthusiast each day to the courthouse as they lined up for a chance to score just a few open public seats in the gallery. One trial regular sold her spot in line to another person for $200. Both got reprimands from the court, and the money was returned.

Many people also gathered outside after trial for a chance to see Martinez, who had gained celebrity-like status for his firebrand tactics and unapologetically intimidating style of cross-examining defense witnesses.

The case grew into a worldwide sensation as thousands followed the trial via a live, unedited Web feed. Twitter filled with comments as spectators expressed their opinions on everything from Arias' wardrobe to Martinez's angry demeanor. For its fans, the Arias trial became a live daytime soap opera.

Adding to the spectacle, Arias sold drawings from jail throughout the trial on a website operated by a third party, Arias' mother said. According to the site, some pieces were fetching more than $1,000, and Sandra Arias said the money was being used to help pay for family expenses. Nothing prevented Jodi Arias from profiting from her notoriety given she hadn't been convicted of a crime.

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cojef wrote:
Guessing game, intrigue. This Courts has been in the limelight and aims to stay there. That is my opinion as the cause of the delay. It has been like watching a soap.
on May 8,2013 | 09:12AM
allie wrote:
The entire country is sick of this made for tv trial. Glad the nightmare is over.
on May 8,2013 | 02:00PM
turbolink wrote:
Apparently not. You're here reading and commenting, for compensation.
on May 8,2013 | 05:46PM
Anonymous wrote:
Really? Who say's it's over? It's just moving into the second phase, for sentencing, then she will sit in prison for a while on death row, while her lawyers file repeatedly for an appeal or stay of execution. So by no means is this 'soap opera' over by any stretch of the imagination!
on May 8,2013 | 07:39PM
st1d wrote:
strange, how this story was chosen across the board by the main stream media to fill all available video and print.

not a word or photo of the benghazi hearings going on in congress and the reveals of white house coverup and epic efforts to blame an unknown video for terrorist actions. all in the pursuit of protecting obama's re-election.

now that this diversion is over, will proper focus be placed on news reports from the benghazi hearings.

not if the democrat machine has its way. you'll get fluff pieces on hanabusa, lazie, shatz, and gabbard.

on May 8,2013 | 06:29PM
Anonymous wrote:
Not exactly the blockbuster it was promised to be.
on May 8,2013 | 11:17PM
2Lolo wrote:
Ya know, this is exactly what I came here to comment about. No one cares about the murder of Ambassador Stevens, the government cover up in order to secure Obama's election in November? The StarAdvertiser is a joke newspaper.
on May 9,2013 | 06:02AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
This is an evil woman that needs to be placed behind bars for a long time.
on May 8,2013 | 10:49AM
hanalei395 wrote:
How about an evil woman being put to death?
on May 8,2013 | 11:00AM
romei wrote:
Well it certainly will save tax payers $$ to keep her in Prison for the rest of her life.
on May 8,2013 | 11:09AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Keep her alive to send a message for the other copycats.
on May 8,2013 | 05:09PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Alive...but not for long.....on DEATH ROW.
on May 8,2013 | 07:38PM
Randz808 wrote:
Death row takes forever!
on May 9,2013 | 04:24AM
hanalei395 wrote:
I would imagine being on death row is not the same as getting life. The murderer is more confined, and is FOREVER thinking.........anytime now........
on May 9,2013 | 04:58AM
mikethenovice wrote:
We cold have saved taxpayers money after week number one. Everything after that was only repeating her crime.
on May 8,2013 | 05:15PM
Hawaiians wrote:
Life for a life, death row and save our tax payer dollars, or make her pay back the Millions her trial cost us!!!!!
on May 8,2013 | 07:52PM
Skyler wrote:
on May 8,2013 | 12:28PM
mikethenovice wrote:
YouTube that moment!
on May 8,2013 | 12:43PM
allie wrote:
really sleazy Mormon story
on May 8,2013 | 02:01PM
walaau808 wrote:
really? this has nothing to do with Mormon's...and you're still a sad excuse for a human being!
on May 8,2013 | 08:55PM
Anonymous wrote:
on May 8,2013 | 11:18PM
kentfonoimoana wrote:
Allie - your comment about Mormons hits an all time low for you - which I did not think possible..
on May 9,2013 | 08:07AM
4watitsworth wrote:
Death is the easy way out. I think she should pay for what she did by living the rest of her life in prison.
on May 8,2013 | 03:45PM
aomohoa wrote:
Do you really want to punish the taxpayers? Think about it.
on May 8,2013 | 07:24PM
boshio wrote:
Agree, grant her wish to die sooner rather than later. End of episode.
on May 9,2013 | 07:00AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Go ahead and cry Jody. You will never cry more than the victims family. You need to learn to walk away and live another day.
on May 8,2013 | 12:42PM
cojef wrote:
Premeditated murder in the 1st degree, tells it all. The victim was stabbed 27 times, shot in the head and throat slit from ear to ear, dragged him into the shower stall, and then claimed self-defense. She did not have any signs of injury anywhere on her body and she had the audacity to claim that he chargd her like raging buul with a body slam. Liar to core and she sure enjoyed sex as after the murder took place visited a former boyfriend and had sex again. WoW!
on May 8,2013 | 02:01PM
romei wrote:
agree, if only she had let him go, on with her own life... now her life is over and her freedom gone and suffering for the surviving family & friends of Travis....
on May 8,2013 | 02:44PM
ValleyOhana wrote:
If she prefers the death penalty then I say, give her life in prison! She forfeits the right to prefer/choose her fate when she chose the fate of Travis Alexander! She is the epitome of cruel an unusual!!
on May 8,2013 | 03:26PM
walrus808 wrote:
If she wants the death penalty, then give her life in prison without parole. It's way cheaper than the death penalty anyway. She should have to live every single day remembering she took a life!
on May 8,2013 | 04:00PM
hanalei395 wrote:
She'll "live every day remembering she took a life"......ON DEATH ROW.
on May 8,2013 | 06:16PM
st1d wrote:
act two now in progress.

if she really prefered death, she had plenty of opportunity with her choice of means, firearms, knives, drugs.

all she's doing is playing out another line in an attempt to manipulate others again.

on May 8,2013 | 05:02PM
mikethenovice wrote:
When you are abused, you stay away. You don't hang around to get even.
on May 8,2013 | 05:05PM
mikethenovice wrote:
A big Thank You to TV's HLN, Ms. Nancy Grace, Esq., for narrating us through the trial.
on May 8,2013 | 05:08PM
mikethenovice wrote:
She should have saved face by telling the truth. She also shamed her family.
on May 8,2013 | 05:33PM
Kaluu wrote:
This is low-grade entertainment, not news.
on May 8,2013 | 05:54PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Killing another human life is always low-grade. Just walk away.
on May 9,2013 | 06:06AM
All I can say is MEN AND WOMEN, chose your partners wisely, AND DON'T CHEAT....STUPID. She just lost it and will pay the ultimate price.....her life. This didn't have to happen.
on May 8,2013 | 07:03PM
aomohoa wrote:
Let's save the taxpayers a lot of money and give her the death penalty.
on May 8,2013 | 07:22PM
Hawaiians wrote:
Agreed for wasting tax payers money making a mockery out of our courts and lying all the way through...
on May 8,2013 | 07:57PM
Anonymous wrote:
Well, that don't mean much in the grand scheme of things; She will still spend a long time on 'death row' and her lawyers will file appeal after appeal, until her sentence is finally carried out.
on May 8,2013 | 07:35PM
mikethenovice wrote:
People like Jodi only think that death is a peaceful moment. Death is the beginning of a long process of being judged by the Higher Level to see if your time on Earth was a honest journey.
on May 8,2013 | 08:07PM
hikine wrote:
The lawyers made her look so innocent by getting hear to wear glasses which made her look more refined but the jury saw thru all that lie! Death penalty is an easy way out, let her be housed in the general prison population and let her suffer.
on May 8,2013 | 10:36PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Let her suffer on......Death Row.
on May 8,2013 | 11:08PM
wsato wrote:
uh, death row inmates live a life of luxury, compared to the rest of the prison populace. and taxpayers fund it all, so she's screwing you, too
on May 9,2013 | 03:38AM
hanalei395 wrote:
I don't think being MORE confined than the other prison inmates, with the mentality..... "how long more?"..... is a life of luxury. You... are really screwed-up.
on May 9,2013 | 05:12AM
Jonas wrote:
Please giver her what she wants.
on May 9,2013 | 01:58AM
Randz808 wrote:
Convicted, great...if it was premeditated! Actually, no one will ever know the real truth, except for Ms. Arias. Maybe she really was abused repeatedly and just snapped at one point...but then, maybe she was jealous. Oh well...
on May 9,2013 | 04:38AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Sign on her grave should read, "Please spit on me"!
on May 9,2013 | 06:04AM
pcman wrote:
Having read all the comments, it seems I am the only one who thinks she was not thinking normally. Why kill a person three times? Shot, slashed and stabbed. I would call that temporary insanity, based on rage. Not normal, in my mind, to plan that you will do these three things to punish a person. She should ask for a new lawyer and a retrial. Her lawyer said he didn't like her. He should not have tainted the jury with his bias towards her.
on May 9,2013 | 08:31AM
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