Moral Low Ground

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Jodi Arias Guilty of First-Degree Murder; Says “Death Is the Ultimate Freedom”

Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday in the gruesome slaying of her former boyfriend Travis Alexander.

The Associated Press reports that jurors ended their deliberation, which began on Friday afternoon, late Wednesday morning. The verdict was announced at 2 p.m. local time.

Outside the Phoenix courthouse where Arias was tried and convicted, a massive crowd of spectators– some of who traveled from across the country– cheered the news of the guilty verdict. Chants of “USA! USA!” rang out through the throng.

Prosecutors successfully argued that Arias, 32, committed the premeditated murder of 30-year-old Travis Alexander, her ex-boyfriend, in a fit of jealous rage over his plans to leave her for another woman. Alexander was stabbed at least 27 times, had his throat slit and was shot in the head in his Mesa home on June 8, 2008.

Arias had first claimed that masked intruders killed Alexander. She later changed her story and said she killed Alexander, who she claimed attacked her and was regularly abusive, in self-defense. Her trial began in January, with Arias testifying for 18 days. The trial became the focus of a media circus, with lurid details of Arias’ sordid sex life, Mormon religion, relentless lies and icy demeanor regularly making tabloid headlines.

CNN reports that the Arias trial now moves into the aggravation phase, which will determine whether she lives or dies. In a post-conviction interview with local Fox affiliate KSAZ, a teary-eyed Arias said she would “prefer to die sooner than later” and that “death is the ultimate freedom.” The new phase of the trial is set to begin on Thursday.

Maricopa County officials told reporters that Arias has been placed under a suicide watch.

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