The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Jodi Arias, a waitress and aspiring photographer charged with killing her one-time boyfriend in Arizona. Arias initially denied involvement and later blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Travis Alexander in self-defense.
After a four-month trial that included graphic details of their sexual escapades and photos of Alexander just after his death, jurors began deliberating Friday afternoon.
This is what AP reporters on the scene Wednesday are learning about the events unfolding:
FIRST-DEGREE MURDER, 12:45 p.m.
If the jury convicts Arias of first-degree murder, the trial will move into what’s called the “aggravation” phase. Both sides may call witnesses and show evidence during a mini trial of sorts. The jurors are the same. OPTION 1: The panel doesn’t find the presence of aggravating factors, so 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. OPTION 2: Jurors find there were aggravating factors, and the case moves into a penalty phase. The jury decides whether Arias should be executed or get life in prison. Additional witnesses could be called by both sides. If jurors don’t reach a unanimous agreement on the death penalty, the judge sentences Arias to either the rest of her life in prison or life in prison with the possibility of release after 25 years.
POSSIBLE VERDICTS, 12:18 p.m.
If Arias is convicted of first-degree murder, she faces either life in prison or a death sentence. Jurors also have the option of convicting her of second-degree murder if they believe she didn’t premeditate the killing but still intentionally caused Alexander’s death. If convicted of that charge, she could be sentenced to 10 to 22 years in prison. Manslaughter is an option if the panel believes Arias didn’t plan the killing in advance and the attack occurred in the heat of passion after “adequate” provocation from Alexander. A conviction on this charge carries a sentence of seven to 21 years in prison. If they believe she killed Alexander in self-defense, Arias would be acquitted and would walk out after being incarcerated for more than four years.
VERDICT REACHED, 11:30 a.m.
Court system sends out an email: “The jury has reached a verdict in the State v Jodi Arias. The verdict will be read today at 1:30 p.m.” That triggered a flurry of people rushing to the courthouse and live TV shots and Web feeds by the numerous news outlets covering the trial.