Convicted murderer Jodi Arias was one step closer to death row on Wednesday when the jury ruled that “extreme cruelty” had been proven and that she should be eligible for the lethal injection.
The key to the “live or die” decision came down to whether the jury believed if victim Travis Alexander‘s June 2008 death was “especially cruel” and that he suffered pain and/or mental anguish when Jodi stabbed him 29 times, slit his throat and shot him in the face.
Once again, prosecutor Juan Martinez stole the show during the two hours of testimony in Phoenix, Arizona, when he shut the courtroom down for two minutes of silence to represent time it took Travis to die.
“Mr. Alexander suffered pain every time that blade entered his body,” Martinez told the jury.
“It was excruciating every time that that blade cut into his neck. We can imagine the absolute terror as he’s sitting there, defenseless. As he’s seated the knife comes toward him, is hitting him. That is extreme emotional anguish, mental anguish, to watch the blade come up to him. And he can see, hear, breathe, smell and he knows exactly what is going on.
“Travis Alexander, on June 4, 2008, suffered enough for two lifetimes.”
Arias, 32, was found guilty of the first degree murder of her former boyfriend on May 8. She was placed on suicide watch after the verdict but was moved back to Estrella Jail and to be kept alone in a cell “on closed custody status” on Tuesday.
The death penalty phase is scheduled to begin on Thursday morning, when the jury determines if Jodi is to be sentenced to death or to life in prison.
The defense will present evidence about Arias’ background and family that they hope will outweigh the aggravation and prove that she deserves to live, during which she will be allowed to speak to the jurors and plead with them to save her life.
Meanwhile, Alexander’s family will be allowed to give victim impact statements.
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