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What are all the possible fates of Jodi Arias?

  • The jury resumes deliberations Monday at noon ET
  • Jury has a range of options, from capital punishment to setting her free
  • Arias is accused of killing Travis Alexander, but she says she did it in self-defense
Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias’ fate is hanging in the balance as jurors deliberate whether she is guilty of murdering her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, but her trial may not end with the verdict.

The jury made up of eight men and four women deliberated from 6:37 p.m. to about 7:30 p.m. ET Friday, before going home for the evening. Deliberations will continue on Monday.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez wrapped his rebuttal argument Friday evening, asking the jury to convict Arias of first-degree murder.

"Travis Victor Alexander was slaughtered by this  woman. She slashed his throat, she stabbed him in the heart, and then she shot him in the face, and all of that, thinking about it in advance," said Martinez, ending his rebuttal argument.

Defense Attorney Kirk Nurmi gave his closing argument earlier Friday, arguing that Alexander and Arias engaged in A violent fight on June 4, 2008, and only one person was going to make it out alive.

“What this evidence shows is that either what happened is that Jodi Arias defended herself and didn’t know when to stop, or she gave in to a sudden heat of passion… . Ultimately, if Miss Arias is guilty of any crime at all, it is the crime of manslaughter and nothing more," said Nurmi.

Read more: Alexander as you've never seen him before

There may be a lot left for the jurors to decide even after they declare their verdict.

If Arias is found guilty of first-degree murder, the jury will also have to decide whether she should die via lethal injection.

Depending on the jurors' decision, here are some other scenarios Arias could face.

Watch: Alexander abused Arias: In her own words

Not guilty

If the jury decides the prosecution didn't prove its case, and they return with a not guilty verdict, Arias will be a free woman. She could then resume her dreams of becoming a professional photographer and starting a family.

Read more: Did Alexander abuse other women?

Hung jury

There’s also a possibility the jury will not be able to reach a unanimous decision, in which case there would be what is called a hung jury. If the judge declares a mistrial because of a hung jury, Arias could face a retrial.

However, if jurors think Arias is guilty, they will have more decisions to make.

First-degree murder

The jurors have two paths they can take to reach a first-degree murder conviction.

They can unanimously decide Arias is guilty of premeditating Alexander's murder. Arizona defines first-degree murder as when someone plans or premeditates killing another person and carries out their plan.

The jury can also convict Arias of first-degree murder with the legal theory called felony murder. If they find Arias caused Alexander's death during the course of committing a dangerous felony such as burglary, they can also convict her of first-degree murder.

In order to find Arias guilty of first-degree murder, the jury must unanimously agree that the prosecution has proven first-degree murder, but they all don't have to agree on which first-degree murder legal theory was proven -- classic premeditated first-degree murder or felony murder. Therefore, the jurors have two paths to first-degree murder.

If Arias is convicted of first-degree murder, the case then moves to the aggravation phase, which will be like a miniature trial.

Read more: Arias' steamy text messages to take center stage

The prosecution will have a chance to present additional evidence in an attempt to prove Alexander’s death was caused in a cruel manner. Arizona law defines cruel manner as when the victim suffers physical pain or mental anguish and the defendant knew or should have known that the victim would suffer.

Watch: Arias confronted with naked photos

The jury would then deliberate for a second time to determine if the aggravating factor of cruelty is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the jury does not find her guilty of cruelty, the case ends and the judge sets a sentencing date within 30 to 60 days. At the sentencing, the judge decides whether to sentence Arias to life in prison without parole or life with parole eligibility after 25 years.

Read more: Did Arias abuse her mother?

But if the jury decides cruelty is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the case moves to the sentencing phase.

This is the defense’s opportunity to ask the jury for leniency and present evidence to support why Arias should be spared the death penalty. Witnesses may include Arias’ friends and family. Arias could also make a statement to the jury pleading for her life to be spared.

The jury then deliberates for a third time to determine whether Arias should be sentenced to life or death. Their decision must be unanimous. In the case of a deadlock, a mistrial would be granted and a new jury would be chosen for this phase only.

If the jury votes for the death penalty, Arias would be sentenced immediately, and she is likely to be sent to death row within hours.

If the jury chooses a life sentence instead, the judge will set a sentencing date within 30 to 60 days. At that time, the judge will sentence Arias to life in prison without parole or life with eligibility for parole after 25 years.

Second-degree murder

If the jury rejects first-degree murder, but finds her guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder, the judge will sentence Arias to no less than 10 years and no more than 22 years in prison.

Read more: Who is the real Arias?

Arizona law defines second-degree murder in two different ways that apply to this case.

Second-degree murder is when a person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another person without premeditation.

In the alternative, second-degree murder is also defined as when the defendant shows extreme indifference to human life, and recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death, and causes the death of another person.


If the jury rejects first-degree murder and second-degree murder, but finds Arias guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, the judge will sentence her to no less than seven years and no more than 21 years in prison. 

Arizona law allows the jury to reach a manslaughter verdict in multiple ways. Here's what applies to Arias' case:

In Arizona, if someone intentionally or knowingly kills a person without premeditation, the defendant could be charged with the crime of second-degree murder. However, if the jury believes the victim attacked the defendant, and if it was enough to incite the defendant's actions, then the intentional killing would fall under the lesser crime of manslaughter.

Don't confuse manslaughter with self-defense. If the jury believes Arias' self-defense claim, and her actions were reasonable under the circumstances, then they could acquit her.

If Arias is sentenced to jail time, she will receive credit for the four-and-a-half years she has been incarcerated awaiting trial.

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