Arias case likely far from over even after verdict

PHOENIX (AP) — A jury found Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder, but the case is far from over.

Arias, 32, was convicted of first-degree murder in the June 4, 2008, death of her Travis Alexander, her one-time boyfriend, at his suburban Phoenix home.

Testimony began in early January. Jurors reached a verdict Wednesday after deliberating for about 15 hours over four days.

The trial will now move into a phase during which prosecutors will argue the killing was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner, called the “aggravation” phase. Both sides may call witnesses and show evidence during a mini trial of sorts. The jurors are the same and will reconvene at 1 p.m. Thursday.

There are two options for the jury:

OPTION 1:

The panel doesn’t find the presence of aggravating factors. In this case, the judge dismisses them and sentences Arias to either the rest of her life in prison or life in prison with the possibility of release after 25 years.

OPTION 2:

The jurors find there were aggravating factors, and the case moves into a penalty phase. The same jury decides whether Arias should be executed or get life in prison. This portion of the case could go on for several weeks, and additional witnesses could be called by both sides. If jurors don’t reach a unanimous agreement on the death penalty, the judge sentences Arias to either the rest of her life in prison or life in prison with the possibility of release after 25 years.

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