PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias has been convicted of first-degree murder in the brutal stabbing and shooting death of her one-time boyfriend in Arizona.
Arias was charged in the June 2008 killing of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities say she planned the attack in a jealous rage. Arias initially denied involvement, then blamed it on two masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense.
Testimony began in early January, with Arias eventually spending 18 days on the witness stand. Jurors got the case Friday.
The trial has been a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage by the cable news networks, with tales of lurid sex, lies and death, nude photos and accounts of a salacious relationship that ended in a bloody killing.
Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead and had his throat slit before Arias dragged his body into his shower. He was found by friends about five days later.
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.
Arias 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.
As deliberations drag on, dozens of people gather daily on the courthouse steps waiting for a verdict.
If Arias is convicted of first-degree murder, she faces either life in prison or a death sentence. Jurors also have the option of convicting Arias of second-degree murder if they believe she didn't premeditate the killing but still intentionally caused Alexander's death. If convicted of that charge, she could be sentenced to 10 to 22 years in prison.
Manslaughter is an option if the panel believes Arias didn't plan the killing in advance and the attack occurred in the heat of passion after "adequate" provocation from Alexander. A conviction on this charge carries a sentence of seven to 21 years in prison.
If they believe she killed Alexander in self-defense, Arias would be acquitted and would walk out jail after being incarcerated for more than four years.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
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