With Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder, attention will now be drawn to the sentencing process, due to begin Thursday at 4 pm ET.
Arias could face the death penalty for the killing of former boyfriend Travis Alexander and openly admits she would prefer this to life imprisonment.
In an interview with Fox affiliate KSAZ given after the verdict was passed, Arias described death as “the ultimate freedom”:
“I just feel overwhelmed. I think I just need to take it a day at a time. It was unexpected for me. There was no premeditation on my part. I said years ago I’d rather get death than life and that still is true today. I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I’d rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
Those statements spurred the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office into action, and Arias was placed on suicide watch. A statement from the sheriff’s office read:
“At the conclusion of this interview and in light of some of her statements during the interview, Arias was brought to jail and per Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was placed on suicide protocol. Until she is released from suicide protocol by Sheriff’s officials, no further media interviews of inmate Arias will be permitted.”
(Incidentally, media outlets hoping to find a way around that “no further interviews” ruling will find no luck with Arias’ Twitter account, which appears to have been closed down.)
Lots has been made of #jodiarias tweeting from behind bars (via a friend). Tonight her twiiter account @jodiannarias has been shut down.
— CareyPenaTV (@CareyPenaTV) May 9, 2013
On Thursday, the jury will begin considering aggravating factors, one of which will be whether the crime was “cruel.” Jodi Arias will only be sentenced to death if the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this was the case.
Should the jury decide the crime was not cruel, Arias will face life in prison. If the jury decides it was cruel, the defense will begin mitigation, presenting witnesses to Arias’ character, including experts on her mental state. This process could last up to a month.
The Jodi Arias guilty verdict arrived after a four-month trial and three days of deliberation by the 12-person jury. Along the way, those in the courtroom were shown graphic recordings of phone sex calls and grisly crime scene photos.
On Wednesday afternoon, the jury found Jodi Arias guilty of killing Alexander. Throughout the trial, Arias claimed self-defense, stating that Alexander was frequently abusive and demeaning.