After nearly five years, the unusual first-degree murder case involving Jodi Arias, who was accused of killing her one-time boyfriend, closed Wednesday when jurors issued a guilty verdict.
Travis Alexander, a motivational speaker and salesman, was killed June 2008 at his suburban Phoenix, Arizona, home. Authorities said Arias planned the attack in a jealous rage after being rejected by the victim while he pursued other women.
Arias initially denied involvement and later blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense.
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.
Jurors got the case Friday afternoon. They reached a decision late Wednesday morning. The guilty verdict was announced after 4:30 p.m. EST.
After hearing of her conviction, Arias opened her mouth and blinked in a look of disbelief.
Alexander’s family smiled and hugged each other. Outside, people cheered and hugged, then began chanting “USA, USA, USA.”
This video has the reading of the verdict and Arias’ reaction:
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.
Here’s a look at pictures of the reactions to the verdict and proceedings leading up to the jury’s decision:
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.
USA Today has more from court documents regarding the details surrounding the case:
According to court testimony, Alexander told his friends that Arias was a stalker, among other less-kind names, but he still invited her to his house for sex and asked her to accompany him on vacations. At one point early in the trial, jurors heard an hour-long audio tape in which Arias and Alexander talked about their travels, their many trysts and then indulged in loud and lurid phone sex. Alexander said he wanted to zip-tie her to a tree and commit a deviant sex act on her. Later in the hearing, Arias said she was searching for a suitable spot in the forest near her grandparents’ northern California home to act out that fantasy, and she said that Alexander wanted her to dress as Little Red Riding Hood.
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.
USA Today also reported that “odd occurrences” have given the trial a more national audience. For example, a strange cellphone ringtone sounding like a braying donkey going off during the proceedings in March and a spectator that same day vomiting in front of her seat. In addition, three jurors were dismissed, one for making prejudicial comments and the others for undisclosed reasons.
With a conviction of first-degree murder, Arias faces either life in prison or a death sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.