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Arias: Guilty

by
Jodi Arias (Reuters-David Wallace-Arizona Republic pool photo)
Jodi Arias (Reuters-David Wallace-Arizona Republic pool photo)

PHOENIX, AZ  (Reuters) - An Arizona jury found Jodi Arias guilty on Wednesday of first-degree murder in the death of her ex-boyfriend in a sensational capital case involving "sex, lies and dirty little secrets" that has snared media attention since January.

Arias, 32, has admitted to shooting 30-year-old Travis Alexander, whose body was found in the shower of his Phoenix valley home in June 2008. He had been shot in the face, stabbed multiple times and his throat had been slashed.

Arias, who could face the death penalty as her case goes into the penalty phase of the trial, had said her actions were in self-defense after he attacked her because she had dropped his camera while taking photos of him in the shower. She teared up as the verdict was read.

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi argued Arias suffered physical and emotional abuse by Alexander during a chaotic relationship defined by "sex, lies, and dirty little secrets."

The trial, which began in early January and was punctuated by graphic testimony and evidence including a sex tape, was streamed live on the Internet and drew widespread media attention.

During the trial, the court heard how the petite, dark-haired Arias met and began dating Alexander, a businessman and motivational speaker, in 2006.

During 18 days of often gripping and salacious testimony, Arias said that she and Alexander continued to have sex despite their break-up from a relationship that was marked by emotional and physical abuse.

Arias said Alexander had made her feel "like a prostitute" and that he kicked and attempted to choke her, although she admitted never reporting the alleged abuse to the police, seeking medical treatment or documenting it in her journal.

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi said Arias had snapped in the "sudden heat of passion" in the moments between a final photograph she took showing Alexander alive and taking a shower and a subsequent picture showing him covered in his own blood.

But prosecutor Juan Martinez painted a different picture of Arias, portraying her as manipulative and prone to jealousy in previous relationships, and said she had meticulously planned to kill Alexander.

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