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Arias eligible for death penalty


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Arias eligible for death penalty

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PHOENIX (AP) — Jurors in a U.S. trial that has riveted viewers with details of sex and violence said Wednesday that a former waitress should be eligible for the death penalty after they convicted her last week of murdering her lover.
The 32-year-old Jodi Arias has admitted killing Travis Alexander in June 2008 at his home. She first denied involvement. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense. Prosecutors said she planned the killing in a jealous rage.
The jury decision came after a day of testimony in the “aggravation” phase of the trial, during which prosecutor Juan Martinez hoped to prove the June 2008 killing was committed in an especially cruel and heinous manner.
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 trial now moves into the final phase, in which prosecutors will call Alexander’s family and other witnesses in an effort to convince the panel Arias should face the ultimate punishment. Arias’ attorneys also will call witnesses, likely members of her family, in an attempt to gain sympathy from jurors so they give her life in prison.
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.
Arias, wearing a silky, cream-colored blouse, appeared to fight back tears most of the morning. She spent the weekend on suicide watch before being transferred back to an all-female jail where she will remain until sentencing.
“She made sure she killed him by stabbing him over and over and over again,” Martinez said.

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