Jodi Arias says she prefers death penalty
Jodi Arias reacts after she was found of guilty of first-degree murder in the gruesome killing of her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in their suburban Phoenix home, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher, Pool)
From left, Kathy Brown, of Paradise Valley, Virginia Aguiar, of Scottsdale, Jane Crook, of Scottsdale, react to a guilty verdict for Jodi Arias, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, outside of Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. Arias was convicted of first-degree murder in the gruesome killing of her one-time boyfriend in Arizona after a four-month trial that captured headlines with lurid tales of sex, lies, religion and a salacious relationship that ended in a blood bath. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES
Jodi Arias spent 18 days on the stand in Phoenix, 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 today to begin the next phase of the trial that could set the stage for Arias receiving a death sentence.
It’s a punishment that Arias herself said she wants, telling a TV station minutes after her conviction that she would “prefer to die sooner than later.”
“Longevity runs in my family, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place,” a tearful Arias told Fox affiliate KSAZ. “I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I’d rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
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’s 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.
Arias fought back tears as the verdict was announced yesterday 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.