PHOENIX -- Jodi Arias spent 18 days on the stand sharing intimate, emotional and often X-rated details of her life before a rapt television and online audience. She had hoped it all might convince a jury that she killed her one-time boyfriend in self-defense.
But the eight men and four women on the panel didn't buy it, convicting Arias, 32, of first-degree murder Wednesday after about 15 hours of deliberations. The jury returns to court Thursday to begin the next phase of the trial that could set the stage for Arias receiving a death sentence.
Minutes after the verdict, Arias told a TV station she would "prefer to die sooner than later." "Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place," she told KSAZ-TV. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."
Arias, a waitress, shot Travis Alexander in the forehead, stabbed him nearly 30 times and slit his throat, leaving the motivational speaker and businessman nearly decapitated. She said he attacked her and she fought for her life. Prosecutors said she killed out of jealous rage after Alexander wanted to end their affair.
She acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi to avoid suspicion. She acknowledged lying repeatedly before and after her arrest but insisted she was telling the truth in court.
Arias fought back tears as the verdict was read, while Alexander's relatives wept and hugged each other.