Live blog: Arias guilty of murder one

NEED TO KNOW
  • After 15 hours of deliberation, a verdict is reached in the Jodi Arias trial
  • Arias may face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder
  • She's accused of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander; she says it was in self-defense
Live blog: Arias guilty of murder one

After months of sometimes-gory evidence and shocking testimony filled with sex, lies and allegations of brutality, a jury of Arias peers have found her guilty of first-degree murder.

Read more: What are Arias' possible fates?

Prosecutor Juan Martinez left the jury with a lot to think about when he ended his rebuttal argument.

“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," Martinez said.

The defense countered Martinez earlier in the day with an argument that went straight to the central theme of the case.

“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," Arias attorney Kirk Nurmi said in his closing argument.

Read more:  Arias’ attorney says she ‘simply snapped’

The verdict was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. Watch HLN now to see the verdict live, or follow along with HLNtv.com's live blog below.

HLN is live-blogging the Jodi Arias trial.  Read below for minute-by-minute updates from the trial (Best read from the bottom up):

7:20 p.m. ET: HLN will be live-blogging tomorrow's hearing, starting at 4 p.m. ET.

7:09 p.m. ET: HLN has learned that Jodi Arias has returned to the Estrella jail and will visit with family this evening.

7:02 p.m. ET: Tape is being played of the moment outside the courthouse when the verdict was read. People were screaming, cheering, and clapping.

6:54 p.m. ET: Alexis Weed says she saw Jodi meet with her defense team and her family (her mother and grandmother) following the verdict. She also witnessed what several other people have mentioned; Jodi's mother was uncharacteristically emotional following the verdict.

6:46 p.m. ET: Nancy Grace says she has heard Jodi got very upset with her defense attorneys after the verdict. Galanter says the defense team may be with Arias now, advising her on the next steps in the trial. "The defense has had such an uphill battle, I'm glad I'm not them," he said.

6:45 p.m. ET: We are still waiting for word on why Jodi Arias has not left the courthouse yet.

6:37 p.m. ET: HLN's Vinnie Politan says, in this next phase, the defense is going to have to prove that the murder was not cruel, and that Travis died relatively quickly. Nancy Grace does not seem to think that is possible.

6:34 p.m. ET: Criminal defense attorney Yale Galanter on the aggravation phase of the trial: "The defense attorney wants to try to mitigate the aggravating factor in any way they can, the mitigation is loosely interpreted, the defendant is given great leeway since someone's life is at stake."

6:33 p.m. ET: Nancy Grace says Jodi Arias hasn't left the courthouse yet. No one knows why. Additionally, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio was supposed to make a statement in front of the courthouse, but has not shown up.

6:20 p.m. ET: Alexis Tereszcuk from RadarOnline says there is no doubt that Jodi has been making money behind bars, from selling artwork, her underwear, and other items. However, the wrongful death suit leveled by the Alexander family will seek to prevent her from keeping that money or making any more.

6:19 p.m. ET: Beth Karas says she has been told, if Jodi does receive the death penalty, she will likely be transferred to death row the same day.

6:18 p.m. ET: Aaron Dewey, Travis' friend, says he and Travis' other loved ones couldn't contain themselves when the verdict was read, despite being advised to not show emotion. He also said, initially, that he didn't want to believe Jodi was involved in Travis' murder.

6:07 p.m. ET: "Whether you believe he got shot first or last, it doesn't matter, because the fact is she kept at him, at him, at him, as he tried to escape, and I agree, finally had to slit his throat to do him in. And the whole time, this man is trying to get through and survive." -- Dr. Drew Pinsky

6:03 p.m. ET: Beth Karas says the state is most likely to try to prove the aggravation of "cruelty."

6:00 p.m. ET: Jay Beckstead, the attorney for the Alexander family, is explaining why the family is going to file a wrongful death suit against Arias. "The law in Arizona states that people should not be benefiting from their wrongdoing in a criminal case, and my law firm is going to do the best it can to make sure that she does not benefit from her wrongdoing or her notoriety," he said.

"[Alexander's siblings] really appreciate the outpouring they have received from the public," he continued. "Until a sentence is handed down, they will not be making any further statements or participating in any interviews."

5:54 p.m. ET: A viewer has asked Nancy Grace if Jodi Arias will be put on suicide watch now that her status has changed. Nancy says she would not be surprised. A correspondent says though Jodi has threatened suicide before, she has not been put on suicide watch once in the years she has been incarcerated.

5:50 p.m. ET: Nancy Grace explains the next phase of the trial. The jury will have to explore "aggravating factors," which can be used to determine whether or not the death penalty applies to this case. Aggravating factors include, but are by no means limited to, mass murder, a murder of a law enforcement officer, murder while on parole for violent felonies, etc. The examples Nancy is giving obviously do not apply to the Arias case, but the jury will need to find at least one aggravating factor to apply the death penalty.

5:43 p.m. ET: Travis' good friend Clancy Talbot expresses her gratitude for the verdict. "Looking at Jodi's face, I think this is probably the first time in her life she has ever been held responsible for what she's done, ever, and I think she's in shock."

"We have waited five years through the circus that Jodi has created," she said.

5:40 p.m. ET: Nancy Grace is encouraging people to remember that just because, in the eyes of Travis' family and friends, justice has been served, does not mean it brings the family "closure."

5:33 p.m. ET: "I don't want there to be a mistake. This is not a blood-thirsty revenge, cries of joy. It's not that. It's the fear that justice would be snatched out of our hands...it's the fear that our system would fail, as it has in the past. But today, our system, Lady Justice, triumphs." -- Nancy Grace

5:30 p.m. ET: Aaron Dewey, Travis' friend who drove Arias to the police station, says he is "ecstatic" about the verdict. "There's definitely a lot of relief today. We've been carrying around...the weight of our loss of a dear friend," he said.

5:27 p.m. ET: Jean Casarez says she saw very few emotions from the jury as they filed in the courtroom, but at the last minute, one male juror put his hand to his head, in what she interpreted as a gesture of fatigue. She described Jodi's grandmother as "stoic" and "strong," and says the side of the court containing Arias' friends and family was very quiet during the verdict. "I never saw Jodi look at her family before she was taken out," she said.

5:24 p.m. ET: Nancy Grace is pointing out the emotional reaction of the crowd in the courtroom. A replay shows people crying, embracing, whispering, and becoming animated with surprise. "This is what happens in a court of law, the tears, the embraces...the cries of agony as people hear the verdict...everybody's heart [is] on their sleeve," Nancy said.

5:18 p.m. ET: "It's not jubilation, but it's just so overwhelmingly, relief. It's like, this poor family, for five years have had to deal with this; seeing these pictures and hearing these horrible things...To finally get to this point, that the world can know the true Travis, and the true Jodi Arias." -- Dave Hall

5:16 p.m. ET: Alexander's friend Dave Hall just told Nancy Grace choking back tears that he was thankful the jury returned with a verdict of first degree.

5:12 p.m. ET: Attorney Jay Beckstead just announced on the courthouse steps that he will be filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Alexander's siblings.

5:09 p.m. ET:

5:07 p.m. ET:

Read more: The jury finds Arias guilty of first-degree murder.

5:05 p.m. ET: Five of the jurors voted for first-degree premeditated murder, and seven of them voted for both first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder. It was a uniamious verdict, all 12 jurors found Arias premeditated Alexander's murder.

4:58 p.m. ET: Alexander's sisters cried and consoled each other after the verdict was read.

4:54 p.m. ET: The aggravation phase will begin tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. ET. The jury will have to decide if she murdered Alexander in a cruel manner.

During the aggravation phase, 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 suffered 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 will 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.

4:53 p.m. ET: The crowd outside the courthouse erupted in cheers as they heard the verdict.

4:52 p.m. ET: For a moment Arias seemed to cry after the verdict was read, but she seems to have composed herself now.

4:50 p.m. ET: Jodi Arias is guilty of first-degree murder.

4:49 p.m. ET: The baliff is handing the verdict from to Judge Sherry Stephens.

4:48 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated.

4:47 p.m. ET: Jodi Arias is the courtroom. She looks composed, and does not appear to be nervous. We are seconds from hearing the verdict.

4:45 p.m. ET:

4:42 p.m. ET: The defense attorneys are in the courtroom, but Arias has not been brought in yet.

4:40 p.m ET: Arias' mother is in the courtroom, but her father is not attending court today.

4:37 p.m. ET: The verdict could be read any minute now. The doors to the courtroom are closed. The crowd outside the courthouse is chanting "Justice for Travis."

4:36 p.m. ET: There is very limited seating available in the courtroom. HLN's Beth Karas and Jean Casarez are in the courtroom.

4:35 p.m. ET:

4:33 p.m. ET: People are still filing into the courtroom. Three deputies are making sure people are grabbing seats in an orderly fashion.

4:31 p.m. ET:

4:30 p.m. ET: We are just moments away from the verdict being read in open court.

4:29 p.m. ET:

4:25 p.m. ET: We are five minutes away from the verdict.

4:22 p.m. ET:

4:21 p.m. ET: Dismissed Juror 5 has been escorted into the courtroom.

4:20 p.m. ET: The nation is 10 minutes away from hearing the verdict.

4:19 p.m. ET:

“A young man, in the prime of his life. And for all of you mothers out there, can you imagine pouring all your love, all your hopes, into your young son or daughter… Only, as they reach the prime of their life, to die in this manner? Everything is over!... Your dreams are all dead, along with them," said HLN's Nancy Grace fighting back tears.

4:17 p.m. ET: The public along with members of media have been allowed into the courtroom.

4:15 p.m. ET: We are 15 minutes from the verdict.

4:13 p.m. ET:

4:12 p.m. ET: The nation will learn Arias' fate in under 20 minutes. Tune into HLN to watch the verdict be read live in open court.

4:11 p.m. ET: Arias' family and friends have been escorted into the courtroom.

4:09 p.m. ET: Hundreds of people have gathered at the courthouse.

4:05 p.m. ET:

4:03 p.m. ET:

4:01 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told an HLN producer he is "optimistic" and "ready" for the verdict.

3:58 p.m. ET: Before the trial began, Alexander's sister Tanisha Sorenson told HLN she wanted to watch Arias die one day.

3:55 p.m. ET: Alexander's sister Tanisha Sorenson has walked down the hall to where the public was asked to wait--she is hugging supporters. Family members are surrounded by their friends Lisa Andrews, Chris and Sky Hughes.

3:53 p.m. ET:

3:49 p.m. ET:

3:47 p.m. ET: HLN's Nancy Grace is reporting live from the courthouse and taking your calls right now.

3:44 p.m. ET: HLN's Jean Casarez says she just saw dismissed Juror 8 enter the courtroom.  He was excused for an unknown reason, but he was recently arrested for DUI.

3:40 p.m. ET:

3:38 p.m. ET: Comedian Kathy Griffin watching HLN for the verdict.

3:35 p.m ET: Juror 11, who was dismissed from the panel for medical reasons, has arrived at the courthouse.

3:31 p.m. ET:

3:20 p.m. ET:

3:19 p.m. ET:

3:17 p.m. ET: HLN's Beth Karas said she received word that several of Alexander's friends are on their way to the courthouse to hear the verdict. HLN's Ryan Smith is going through Arias' possible fates live on HLN right now.

3:10 p.m. ET:

3:08 p.m. ET: The public has not been allowed into the courtroom yet.

3:07 p.m. ET: Five of the jurors have returned to the deliberation room. HLN's producer in the courtroom says the only woman in the group was wiping her eyes.

3:06 p.m. ET:

3:04 p.m. ET:

3:01 p.m. ET: HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell and Beth Karas are reporting live from the courthouse steps right now.

 

 

2:55 p.m. ET:

2:52 p.m. ET:

2:49 p.m. ET: HLN's Beth Karas says all the interested parties are just minutes away and are heading to the courthouse right now.

2:47 p.m. ET: HLN's Jane Valez-Mitchell says Arias is being kept in a holding cell in the basement right now. She will be brought up when the verdict is read.

2:44 p.m. ET: Four more jurors have left the deliberation room. HLN's producer at the courthouse says they looked relaxed and were smiling among themselves.

2:41 p.m. ET:

2:39 p.m. ET: Five jurors have left the deliberation room with the deputy.

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