Jodi Arias eligible for death penalty - New York News

Jodi Arias eligible for death penalty

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Jodi Arias and her attorney, Jennifer Willmott - 5/15/13 Jodi Arias and her attorney, Jennifer Willmott - 5/15/13
PHOENIX -

Jurors in Jodi Arias' trial spent Wednesday deciding whether the former waitress should be eligible for the death penalty after they convicted her last week of murdering her lover. And it was a resounding yes.

Family members of victim Travis Alexander sobbed in the front row as Martinez took the jury through the killing one more time. He described how blood gushed from Alexander's chest, hands and throat as the motivational speaker and businessman stood at the sink in his master bathroom and looked into the mirror with Arias behind him.
 
"The last thing he saw before he lapsed into unconsciousness ... was that blade coming to his throat," Martinez said. "And the last thing he felt before he left this earth was pain."

The aggravation phase played out in quick fashion, with only one prosecution witness and none for the defense. The most dramatic moments occurred when Martinez displayed photos of the bloody crime scene for the jury and paused in silence for two minutes to describe how long he said it took for Alexander to die at Arias' hands on June 4, 2008.

Just before 3 p.m. Wednesday, it was announced that the jury has reached a decision.

The jury decided that the death penalty WILL be an option. They found the presence of aggravating factors -- meaning the murder was committed in an especially cruel, heinous, or depraved manner. Her sentence will be determined at the end of the penalty phase.

It didn't even take a full day for the jury to decide that yes, death would be an option.

Arias, wearing a silky, cream-colored blouse, appeared to fight back tears most of the morning but showed little emotion when the decision was announced. Afterward she chatted with her attorneys.

During the penalty phase, attorneys will call witnesses on both sides to argue for and against sparing her life. Jurors will reconvene on Thursday morning.

The 32-year-old Arias admitted killing Travis Alexander in June 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home.

She first denied involvement. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense. Prosecutors say she planned the killing in a jealous rage.

The jury convicted her of first-degree murder last Wednesday. Arias spent the weekend on suicide watch before being transferred back to an all-female jail where she will remain until sentencing.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.


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