Jodi Arias found guilty of first degree murder by Arizona jury

PHOENIX - Jodi Arias has been convicted of first-degree murder in the brutal stabbing and shooting death of her one-time boyfriend in Arizona.

Arias was charged in the June 2008 killing of Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities say she planned the attack in a jealous rage. Arias initially denied involvement, then blamed it on two masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense.

Testimony began in early January, with Arias eventually spending 18 days on the witness stand. Jurors got the case Friday.

The trial has been a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage by the cable news networks, with tales of lurid sex, lies and death, nude photos and accounts of a salacious relationship that ended in a bloody killing.

Now that Arias is convicted of first-degree murder, she faces either life in prison or a death sentence. The penalty phase of the case is scheduled to begin Thursday.

 

-- The case so far --

Testimony in the trial began in early January, with Arias later spending 18 days on the witness stand. The trial quickly snowballed into a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage from cable news networks, and spawning a virtual cottage industry for talk shows, legal experts and even Arias, who used her notoriety to sell artwork she made in jail.

Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead and had his throat slit before Arias dragged his body into his shower. He was found by friends about five days later.

Arias said she recalled Alexander attacking her in a fury after a day of sex. She said Alexander came at her "like a linebacker," body-slamming her to the tile floor. She managed to wriggle free and ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf. She said she fired in self-defense but had no memory of stabbing him.

Arias acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi to avoid suspicion. She said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth.

As deliberations drag on, dozens of people gather daily on the courthouse steps waiting for a verdict.