Jodi Arias as the verdict is read. (Source: KPHO-TV)
Hugs exchanged after verdict is announced. (Source: KPHO-TV)
Arias family arrives at the courthouse for the verdict. (Source: KPHO-TV)
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -
As the Jodi Arias verdict was being read, a crowd outside the courthouse in Phoenix began chanting, "Justice for Travis."
A jury Wednesday found Arias guilty of first-degree murder in the brutal stabbing and shooting death of her onetime boyfriend, Travis Alexander.
As the verdict was read, Arias sat stone-faced, then began fighting back tears when the jurors were polled.
CBS 5 News multimedia journalist Elizabeth Erwin tweeted that the media took up five rows in the courtroom. Three rows were taken up by Alexander family and friends. Two rows were comprised of Arias family and friends.
The Alexander family issued the following statement through their legal counsel:
"Travis Alexander's surviving brothers and sisters Samantha Alexander, Gary Alexander, Dennis 'Greg' Alexander, Tanisha Sorenson, Hillary Wilcox, Steven Alexander and Allie Iglesias are in agreement with the jury's verdict of guilty against Jodi Arias.
"They would like to thank Deputy County Attorney Juan Martinez and Detective Steve Flores for their hard work and professionalism in this case. The siblings appreciate the outpouring of support they have received from the public.
"Buesing, Hernacki & Beckstead PLLC will be filing a civil wrongful death suit on behalf of the siblings against Jodi Arias in the near future.
"The siblings request that their privacy be respected. They will not be making any further statements or participating in any interviews until the sentencing phase is complete."
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery issued the following statement moments after the verdict:
"Today's verdict closes the guilt phase of State v. Jodi Ann Arias. However, the pursuit of justice on behalf of Travis Alexander continues. We look forward to the next phase of the proceedings, where the State will present evidence to prove the murder was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner. Consistent with the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct, my Office will have no further comment at this time."
The crowd outside the courthouse continued to swell with spectators, bloggers and court watchers as the verdict drew near.
Once the bailiff read the verdict, many people outside the court building cheered and hugged, while others jumped and danced. People exchanged high-fives. The sounds of whistles and chants of "USA, USA, USA" filled the air.
Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods said the jury took about the right amount of time to reach a verdict.
"She may have just lied herself onto death row," Woods said in an interview. "She could get it. I think if the jury had an option to find her guilty as hell, they would have checked that box."
One of Alexander's best friends, Aaron Dewey, told CBS 5 News justice was served.
"In a perfect world, we'd have Travis back," he said. "At least we know the woman who so heinously took his life is finally being held accountable for what she did."
Dewey said, "Personally, I would like to see the death penalty. If she spends the rest of her life in jail without the possibility of getting out, I'm OK with that as well."
Mesa police Chief Frank Milstead said he's very pleased with the police work that helped lead to Arias's first-degree murder conviction.
He called lead detective Esteban Flores' work "exemplary," and also praised the lab workers and other support staff. Milstead said, "To not have police work come into question in a real high-profile case is amazing."
Jurors got the case in the afternoon of May 3. They deliberated for two full days this week before reaching a decision late Wednesday morning.
Authorities said Arias planned the attack in a jealous rage after being rejected by the victim. Arias initially denied involvement, then later blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said it was self-defense.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.
[Text BREAKING to 23765 to get news alerts on your mobile phone]
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
UPDATEAlexander family to file wrongful death suit against Jodi AriasMore>>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:25 AM EST2013-12-04 13:25:46 GMT
Officials at USA Medical Center in Mobile confirm that Bruce Necaise, the man shot by 55 year old Gary Topham, has died. Necaise was taken first to Garden Park Medical center, before being transferredMore >>
Officials at USA Medical Center in Mobile confirm that Bruce Necaise, the man allegedly shot by 55-year-old Gary Topham, has died. Hancock County investigators tell WLOX News Necaise was taken first to Garden Park Medical Center, before being transferred to USA Medical Center to undergo surgery.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 12:16 PM EST2013-12-04 17:16:26 GMT
Rachel Berry hasn't spent many years in the woods pursuing wild game, but the Picayune native has developed a passion and a fearless attitude when hunting with a rifle or bow.More >>
Rachel Berry hasn't spent many years in the woods pursuing wild game, but the Picayune native has developed a passion and a fearless attitude when hunting with a rifle or bow. In fact, she recently came face-to-face with the most feared wild animal in Mississippi, and won.More >>
Tuesday, December 3 2013 8:46 PM EST2013-12-04 01:46:24 GMT
We have breaking news in Hancock County tonight. As you may have just heard on WLOX News at 6:00, the Hancock County Sheriff's Department is responding to standoff with a man who has barricaded himselfMore >>
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: The suspect in the Hancock County standoff is in custody and being taken back to the Hancock County Sheriff's office. Investigators confirm they tossed a flash bang device in the house, and once it detonated, the suspect could be heard saying he was coming out. They also said numerous shots were fired at officers who surrounded the Deerwood Road property. More >>
Tuesday, December 3 2013 8:55 PM EST2013-12-04 01:55:13 GMT
Hancock County investigators have a suspect in custody after an apparent a shooting spree on Deerwood Road. Chief Deputy Don Bass says the man who barricaded himself in a home fired numerous shots atMore >>
Hancock County investigators have a suspect in custody after an apparent a shooting spree on Deerwood Road. Chief Deputy Don Bass says the man who barricaded himself in a home fired numerous shots at officers. WLOX News has not received reports of any shots hitting officers. Earlier, one person was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to a leg. But, that victim hasn't been identified.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 1:05 PM EST2013-12-04 18:05:26 GMT
The decorated boats and their twinkling lights will light up the Biloxi Channel on Saturday night. Before then, the city has two other events that will make everybody feel like it's Christmas. The firstMore >>
The decorated boats and their twinkling lights will light up the Biloxi Channel on Saturday night. Before then, the city has two other events that will make everybody feel like it's Christmas. The first of those events is Friday night. At 6:00, the 2013 Christmas on the Water Children's Parade marches through the downtown area.More >>