Spectators, both outside the courthouse and online, cheered the guilty verdict handed down by an Arizona jury Wednesday in the Jodi Arias murder trial.
After deliberating for 15 hours, a jury found Arias, 32, guilty of first-degree premeditated murder
, and she now faces the death penalty for the brutal 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in which she shot him in the head, stabbed him nearly 30 times, and slit his throat from ear to ear.
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The case captivated the country with its sensational stories involving "sex, lies, and dirty little secrets." During 18 days of 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 argued that she murdered Alexander in self-defense after he attacked her at his Phoenix-area home. She previously told police she wasn’t at the house at the time of the killing, then changed her story, saying two intruders broke in to kill him and attack her.
Prosecutors claimed Arias killed Alexander out of jealous rage after he wanted to end their affair and planned to take a trip to Mexico with another woman. The four-month trial became a media circus that involved daily salacious testimony and a sex tape that leaked online.
As the verdict was read Wednesday, Arias showed little emotion.
Outside, a huge crowd that had gathered on the courthouse steps screamed, whistled, and cheered the verdict. Many of the fans traveled from across the country to Phoenix to be close to the proceedings.
Online, Twitter users similarly applauded the jury's decision.
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