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Sunday 26 January 2020

Boyfriend killer 'prefers to die'

Jodi Arias looks at her family after being found of guilty of first-degree murder (AP/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher)
Jodi Arias looks at her family after being found of guilty of first-degree murder (AP/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher)

A woman whose murder trial for the gruesome killing of her one-time boyfriend captured world headlines has said she prefers the death penalty over life in prison.

Jodi Arias talked to Fox affiliate KSAZ at the court in Phoenix, Arizona, minutes after she was convicted. With tears in her eyes, she said she felt overwhelmed and was surprised because she did not believe she committed first-degree murder.

She said she would "prefer to die sooner than later" and that "death is the ultimate freedom".

Arias has previously said that she considered suicide after killing her lover Travis Alexander in his Arizona home. The county said that Arias was placed under suicide watch.

Authorities said Arias planned the attack in a jealous rage. She initially denied involvement, then blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defence.

The trial snowballed into a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage from cable news networks and spawning a virtual cottage industry for talk shows, legal experts and Arias herself, who used her notoriety to sell artwork she made in jail.

Jurors deliberated for two full days this week before reaching a decision on Wednesday.

Prosecutors will now argue the killing was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner, called the "aggravation" phase of the trial. Both sides may call witnesses and show evidence during a mini-trial of sorts..

A mob of spectators gathered outside the court to learn the verdict, while TV crews, media vans and reporters lined nearby streets. Family and friends of Mr Alexander wore blue ribbons and wristbands with the words "Justice For Travis".

Mr Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead and had his throat slit before Arias dragged his body into his shower. He was found by friends about five days later. Authorities said he fought for his life as Arias attacked him in a blitz, but soon grew too weak to defend himself.

PA Media

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