Jodi Arias convicted of premeditated murder of boyfriend

Jodi Arias wept quietly as the verdict was read out

A California woman has been found guilty of premeditated murder in the shooting and stabbing death of her boyfriend in his Arizona home in 2008.

A jury found Jodi Arias, 32, planned the killing of Travis Alexander, 30, a motivational speaker and salesman.

Initially blaming the killing on intruders, Arias later said she had killed him in self-defence.

Arias wept quietly as the verdict was read. She faces either life in prison or the death penalty.

The jury deliberated for 15 hours over three days after hearing closing arguments on Friday.

Testifying for 18 days in her own defence, Arias said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth at the time of the killing but insisted she was not lying to jurors. She has spent four years in prison.

Shifting story

The case, with its attractive victim and defendant and salacious testimony of sex and violence, has gained an outsized media interest in the US since the trial began in January.

Alexander's body was found in the shower of his suburban Phoenix, Arizona home in June 2008. He had been shot in the forehead and stabbed multiple times, his throat slashed.

Arias initially denied any involvement, telling authorities masked intruders had killed Alexander.

But she later said Alexander attacked her following a series of sexual encounters that day, slamming her onto a tile floor. She said she escaped and shot him in self-defence using a gun he kept on a shelf.

She said she had no memory of stabbing him, but acknowledged she had tried to clean the crime scene.

During the trial, prosecutors portrayed Arias as manipulative and jealous.

'Slaughter'

Juan Martinez accused her of planning every detail of the crime, including bringing a pistol, never recovered, to his home from California. He said she had rented a car, removed its licence plate and carried gasoline cans to fuel her car on the journey to Phoenix.

"Nothing indicates that this is anything less than a slaughter," he told jurors during closing arguments.

Defence lawyers said Arias had suffered physical and emotional abuse at Alexander's hands. Arias said he had made her feel "like a prostitute" but said she continued to have sex with him despite the alleged abuse.

Her lawyer Kirk Nurmi argued she had snapped in the "sudden heat of passion" after Alexander attacked her.

A psychologist testified for the defence that her memory lapses stemmed from post-traumatic stress as a result of Alexander's alleged abuse and the killing itself.

The case now enters a second phase, with the same jury deciding whether the murder was "especially cruel, heinous and depraved".

The outcome of that portion of the trial will affect Arias' sentence.

More on This Story

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SleepSleep on it

    Is it possible to strengthen your brain's synapses while you slumber?

Programmes

  • (File photo) Usain BoltClick Watch

    Challenging the world's fastest man to a virtual race over 40m – can you keep up?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.