Jodi Arias Found Guilty of First Degree Murder

In this image made from pool video provided by APTN, Jodi Arias reacts during the reading of the verdict in at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (AP Photo/APTN, Pool)

In this image made from pool video provided by APTN, Jodi Arias reacts during the reading of the verdict in at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (AP Photo/APTN, Pool)  (AP2013)

After months of deliberation and drama, jurors found Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder in the June 2008 slaying of her boyfriend Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home.

When the verdict was read, Arias remained stoic but looked to be holding back tears and trembling. As the judge confirmed the verdict, she began to tear up and glance around at her lawyer. 

The next phase of the trial will decide whether Arias faces life in prison without chance of parole or the death penalty. The prosecution plans to push for the death penalty.

Prosecutors had argued throughout the case that Arias was a stalker who killed Alexander because he wanted to end the relationship and was about to take a trip to Mexico with another woman. Arias contends it was self-defense after Alexander lost his temper and body-slammed her to the floor when she dropped his prized new camera.

Arias initially denied any involvement and later blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense when he attacked her after a day of sex. 

The case became a sensation for a number of reasons, with the sex and violence front and center. Highlights included graphic descriptions of sexual acts between Arias and Alexander as well as photographic evidence of Alexander's decomposed body and the bloody scene of the killing.

Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the head, and had his throat slit. Arias' palm print was found in blood at the scene.

Arias and her defense lawyers have sought to portray Alexander as an abusive womanizer and sexual deviant. Arias said Alexander grew physically abusive in the months before she killed him, but there was no evidence or testimony during the trial to corroborate her allegations.

In the closing arguments given last week Arias' lawyer implored  jurors to take an impartial view of his client, even if they don't like her, and prosecutors described the defendant as a manipulative liar who meticulously planned the attack and is still lying.

"It's not about whether or not you like Jodi Arias. Nine days out of 10, I don't like Jodi Arias. ... But that doesn't matter," defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told jurors.

The defense said Alexander used Arias for sex and abused her physically and emotionally.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez delivered the state's closing arguments, displaying autopsy photos of Alexander's body covered in stab wounds and bruises, a bullet wound to his forehead.

He has been criticized for his aggressive tactics in cross-examining Arias.

Some claim that his attacks are an attempt to show the other side of Arias from the sweet, innocent girl she portrayed in her direct examination, while others argue his insistent approach could have turned off the jury he wanted to convince of Arias’ guilt.

“You don’t treat Jodi Arias like you would Charles Manson on the witness stand…," said Phoenix defense lawyer Melvin Macdonald. "While the crime may be just as gruesome, she’s a totally different person.”

He described Arias as a liar who planned the savage attack. Martinez said Arias lied from the start and is still lying.

Martinez told jurors that Arias had been stalking Alexander and arrived armed and unannounced on the day she killed him, sneaking into his home at about 4 a.m. The two went to sleep together, then awoke and had sex.

At some point, Martinez said, Arias decided it was time to carry out her plan.

Arias has already served four years in prison since her arrest in 2008. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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