Jodi Arias found guilty of murdering boyfriend

Defendant Jodi Arias looks to her family during closing arguments during her trial on Friday.

Rob Schumacher/AP

Defendant Jodi Arias looks to her family during closing arguments during her trial on Friday.

Jurors on Wednesday found Jodi Arias, accused of killing her onetime boyfriend in a fit of rage, guilty of first-degree murder.

The jury of eight men and four women had several options as they considered four months of testimony and evidence in the case: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter or acquittal.

For first degree murder, jurors had to believe that Travis Alexander's June 2008 killing at his suburban Phoenix home was a premeditated act. This charge carries a possible death sentence or life in prison. They reached a verdict after about 15 hours of deliberation.

Arias, 32, initially denied involvement in the June 4, 2008, shooting death of Travis Alexander, blaming his death on two masked intruders. Two years later, she changed her story, saying she had killed him in self-defense.

Prosecutors say Arias began plotting a murder several days in advance and made a road trip to Alexander's house intending to kill him. They say she stole a gun from her grandparents' home, removed her license plate to avoid detection and turned off her cellphone while she was in Arizona so law enforcement couldn't track her. The defense said the killing was self-defense and noted there's no direct proof she ever brought a gun to Alexander's home.

Testimony began in January in the four-month trial in Phoenix that became a cable television sensation, with details of the couple's sexual escapades and photos of Alexander after his death presented as evidence.

Now that she's been convicted, the trial will continue as the same panel decides whether Arias should get the death penalty.

This "aggravation" phase of the trial will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday. If the panel doesn't find the presence of aggravating factors, the judge dismisses them and sentences Arias to either the rest of her life in prison or life in prison with the possibility of release after 25 years. 

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