Tuesday, May 07, 2013 10:42 pm
Jury concludes Jodi Arias deliberations for day
By BRIAN SKOLOFFAssociated Press
Jurors adjourned late Tuesday afternoon and will resume Wednesday morning. They got the case Friday afternoon but only deliberated for about an hour.
Arias, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in the June 4, 2008, death of her one-time boyfriend at his suburban Phoenix home. Authorities say she killed Travis Alexander in a jealous rage after he wanted to end their affair and had been planning to head off on a trip to Mexico with another woman. Arias initially denied involvement, then blamed it on two masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense when he attacked her after a day of sex.
Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead and had his throat slit. His decomposing body was found by friends crumpled in his shower about five days after the killing.
Testimony began in early January. The case has become a cable TV sensation with its lurid tales of sex, lies and betrayal. Hundreds of spectators flocked to the courthouse daily during the trial for a chance to score just a few open seats available to the public inside the courtroom.
As deliberations drag on, dozens of people gather daily on the courthouse steps waiting for a verdict.
Even Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer weighed in on the case Tuesday.
Brewer told reporters after an unrelated press event that she believes Arias is guilty, but dodged questions about whether she thinks the one-time waitress committed first-degree murder or some lesser offense.
"I don't have all the information, but I think she's guilty," Brewer said.
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 Arias 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 also 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 jail after being incarcerated for more than four years.
Meanwhile, Maricopa County jail officials have received numerous complaints about a Twitter account that has been set up on Arias' behalf to post her musings from behind bars. Arias' friend, Donavan Bering, said she gathers the comments from the defendant during jail phone calls then posts them to her Twitter account.
"While it's a concern for us, there's nothing we can do about it," Sgt. Brandon Jones, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, said Tuesday.
Jones explained that Arias has not been convicted of a crime and has the right to use the phone from jail. Authorities cannot restrict what someone else then does with her comments.