Jury finds Jodi Arias guilty of 1st degree murder
PHOENIX (NBC) -- A jury Wednesday found Jodi Arias, the woman accused of murdering her one-time boyfriend in Arizona, guilty of first-degree murder.
Arias, 32, was charged with murder in the 2008 death of Travis Alexander. As the verdict was being read, Arias began crying.
The woman admitted she killed Alexander but claimed self-defense. Arias faces life in prison – potentially even the death penalty.
The Arias case has been the most watched murder trial this year, as 17 weeks focused around the soft-spoken defendant told of kinky sex and horrific violence.
Led by Juan Martinez, the prosecution argued that Alexander's murder was premeditated. On June 4, 2008, Arias drove from Yreka, Calif., to Mesa, Ariz., where she showed up at Alexander's home. She'd rented a car, dyed her hair, turned off her cell phone—apparently to make her harder to identify, her movements harder to track. Her mission, prosecutors said, was murder.
Arias and Alexander had broken up after a hot but secretive affair. Arias said on the stand, she began acting out Alexander's every pornographic fantasy. The woman even converted to Alexander's Mormon faith, but he nonetheless broke up with her and began dating—chastely, he told her—other women.
According to the testimony of some of Alexander's friends, Arias did not take the breakup well, and began stalking her former beau and slashed his tires. Her extreme jealousy culminated in Alexander's gruesome murder, the prosecutor argued.
Arias admitted to killing Alexander after a day of sex. She shot him in the face, stabbed him more than 20 times, and slit his throat from ear to ear. But at trial she claimed it was in self-defense.
"Jodi had to make a choice. She would either live or she would die," defense lawyer Jennifer Willmott told the jury in her opening statement.
Testifying in her own defense, Arias told the jury Alexander had been abusive and demeaning. On the day of his killing, she said it all started off with sex play—each photographing the other—but ended in violence when she dropped his camera—and, she claimed, he attacked her.
"He lunged at me and we fell…. And I got up and he's just screaming angry and after I broke away from him he said [I'll] ‘f------ kill you, bitch,'" she said on the stand.
Tearfully, she then told the jury she did not remember stabbing Alexander.
In his closing arguments, prosecutor Martinez painted Arias as manipulative, telling the jury last week that the woman had "scammed" Alexander.
"Are you going to allow her to scam you?" he asked.