US

Penalty phase begins in Arias trial as jurors weigh death, life in prison for former waitress

  • Jodi Arias looks at the family of Travis Alexander as the jury arrives on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, during the sentencing phase of her trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. If the jury finds aggravating factors in her crime, Arias could be sentenced to death. Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing and shooting death of Travis Alexander, 30, in his suburban Phoenix home in June 2008. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, Pool)

    Jodi Arias looks at the family of Travis Alexander as the jury arrives on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, during the sentencing phase of her trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. If the jury finds aggravating factors in her crime, Arias could be sentenced to death. Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing and shooting death of Travis Alexander, 30, in his suburban Phoenix home in June 2008. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jodi Arias appears for the sentencing phase of her trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. The same jury that convicted Arias of murder one week ago took about three hours Wednesday to determine that the former waitress is eligible for the death penalty in the stabbing and shooting death of her one-time lover in his bathroom five years ago. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, Pool)

    Jodi Arias appears for the sentencing phase of her trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. The same jury that convicted Arias of murder one week ago took about three hours Wednesday to determine that the former waitress is eligible for the death penalty in the stabbing and shooting death of her one-time lover in his bathroom five years ago. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Prosecutor Juan Martinez addresses the jury on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, during the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. If the jury finds aggravating factors in her crime, Arias could be sentenced to death.   (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, Pool)

    Prosecutor Juan Martinez addresses the jury on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, during the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. If the jury finds aggravating factors in her crime, Arias could be sentenced to death. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

Jodi Arias returns to court for the final phase of her trial as the same jury that convicted her of murder last week weighs whether the former waitress should be sentenced to life in prison or death.

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

The 32-year-old Arias acknowledged killing Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008, at his suburban Phoenix home. She initially denied 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 during which prosecutors will work to convince jurors Arias should face the ultimate punishment.