John Bacon, USA TODAY, and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, The Arizona Republic

A jury in Phoenix on Wednesday found Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder of her on-and-off lover Travis Alexander in a sensational trial that gained international attention over several months.

The jury next must decide whether Arias, who choked back tears as the verdict was read, deserves the death penalty or life in prison.

The 12 jurors reached a verdict after deliberating less than three full days. The trial, which began Jan. 2, gained notoriety for its accounts of gore and sex.

Alexander's sisters arrived at the courthouse shortly before 1 p.m. As they waited for the verdict to be read, family and friends of the victim sported blue wristbands and ribbons that said, "Justice for Travis."

Alexander's brothers and sisters issued a statement saying they "are in agreement with the jury's verdict of guilty.'' They said they plan to file a wrongful death civil suit against Arias.

Arias, 32, admitted to killing Alexander, the 30-year-old motivational speaker who was found in the shower of his Mesa, Ariz., home five days later. He had been shot in the head and stabbed 27 times, with his throat slit ear to ear.

Prosecutors contended Arias had planned to kill Alexander when she showed up unannounced at his house, driving a rented car and with her hair dyed. Defense attorneys contended that Arias killed Alexander in June 2008 in an unplanned fit of rage as she reacted to what attorneys portrayed as his pattern of emotional and physical abuse.
A crowd of several hundred people waited outside the courthouse for word of the verdict.

Arias' palm print was found in blood at the gruesome scene, along with nude photos of her and the victim from the day of the killing.

After the nearly five-month trial, 12 members of the jury began deliberations Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. Prosecutor Juan Martinez said the killing was cold-blooded murder and Arias should be sentenced to death.

Arias spent 18 days on the witness stand testifying in her defense. Arias and her lawyers contended it was the culmination of a relationship in which she was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by Alexander.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Tuesday that she believes Arias is guilty, but did not cite first-degree murder or a lesser charge. A first-degree murder conviction and death sentence could one day put a commutation request on the desk of an Arizona governor.

Read or Share this story: