|Arias Says She Would Rather 'Get Death'|
|By COLLEEN CURRY and SHANA DRUCKERMAN||May 3, 2013, 6:54 PM|
Shortly after Jodi Arias was found guilty today of the first-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend, she told a local TV station that she would "rather get death than life" in prison.
"I said years ago I'd rather get death than life and that still is true today," Arias told KSAZ. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I'd rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it."
She told KSAZ that longevity runs in her family and she "didn't want to spent the rest of her life in one place."
She will face the possibility of the death penalty in a hearing that will begin on Thursday.
Cheers erupted from the crowds waiting outside the courtroom in Maricopa County, Ariz., as Arias was convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in a vicious attack in 2008.
Check Out ABC News' complete coverage of the Jodi Arias murder trial.
The case will now move directly into its sentencing phase, with Arias and the jury appearing back in court Thursday to begin arguing over whether she deserves to be condemned to death.
If sentenced to death, Arias, 32, will be the third woman on Arizona's death row.
Arias, dressed in a black suit and wearing glasses, smiled at her family as she entered the courtroom shortly after 4:30 p.m. ET today.
Look through the shocking evidence presented at the Jodi Arias trial.
As the verdict was read by the court clerk, Arias winced and teared up briefly. Her attorney, Jennifer Wilmott, rubbed her arm.
Alexander's family members, seated in the front row of the gallery behind the prosecution, smiled and cried as the verdict was read, hugging and kissing one another. Alexander's siblings have sat through each day of the four month trial.
Arias' mother, seated behind her daughter in the court's gallery, cried as well.
Arias told KSAZ that she hoped that Alexander's family would find some peace now that a verdict has been rendered.
"I don't think they'll be able to find the peace they would like, but maybe they'll be able to have greater peace now or some semblance of it," she said.
Jodi Arias Now Faces Death Penalty Hearing
On Thursday, the jury will return to the courtroom and both sides will begin the aggravating factor phase of the case. Prosecutor Juan Martinez will need to prove one aggravating factor, convincing the jury that the murder was cruel, heinous, or depraved, in order to warrant the death penalty for Arias. The aggravator phase is expected to take a day.
If the jury determines there was no aggravating factor involved in Alexander's murder, the death penalty will be off the table and the judge will sentence Arias in 30 to 60 days.
If the jury is convinced of aggravating factors, the case will move into its final penalty phase.
After both sides give opening statements, Alexander's family members will have the opportunity to speak directly to the jury about the impact the crime has had on their lives. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense will be allowed to question the victim's survivors.
Both sides will then present witnesses to argue the existence of mitigating factors before Arias is allowed to make a statement to the jury. The jurors will ultimately decide whether Arias will be executed or not.
The Maricopa County prosecutor's office released a statement following today's verdict.
"Today's verdict closes the guilt phase of State v. Jodi Ann Arias. However, the pursuit of justice on behalf of Travis Alexander continues. We look forward to the next phase of the proceedings, where the state will present evidence to prove the murder was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner," the office said in a statement.
The verdict today brought to a close nearly five years of prosecutors and Arias' attorneys arguing over whether she was culpable for the death of Alexander, a 27-year-old Mormon church elder and businessman whom Arias met at a networking event.
The pair met in 2006 and dated for a year, but continued to have a sexual relationship for another year after their split. The trial was filled with graphic details of their sex life, including a phone sex call played in court and days of detailed testimony about the couple's sexual inclinations.
Arias and Alexander continued to sleep together until the day Arias killed him in what prosecutors said was a jealous rage. According to court testimony, Arias drove from California to Alexander's home in Arizona, had sex with him, took nude photos of him, and then stabbed him 27 times, shot him in the head, and slit his throat.
Arias had claimed throughout the trial that she killed Alexander in self-defense after he flew into a violent rage because she dropped his camera while taking nude photos of him in the shower on June 4, 2008.
She initially denied being at his home and killing him and later said masked intruders murdered him. She later admitted killing Alexander, but insisted it was in self defense. Her attorneys had urged the jury to find Arias guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.
The lurid details of the trial gained national and international interest, as Arias claimed that the devout Mormon Alexander was sexually abusive, physically abusive, and a sexual deviant. The prosecution dismissed her claims as outright lies.
Testimony in the trial began in January and wrapped up on Friday, May 3.