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Sensational Arizona murder case in hands of jury

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 6:36 p.m.
Jodi Arias (right) confers with defense attorney Jennifer Wilmott during lead defense attorney Kirk Nurmi's closing arguments during Arias' murder trial on Friday, May 3, 2013 at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.

PHOENIX — The murder case against Jodi Arias in the death of her onetime boyfriend has gone to the jury, which is weighing weeks of evidence and the defendant's ever-changing version of events.

After closing arguments, the panel deliberated for just about an hour on Friday before concluding for the day. Deliberations resume on Monday.

Arias says she killed Travis Alexander in self-defense, but prosecutors say it was an act of premeditated first-degree murder that could carry a death sentence or life in prison.

The eight men and four women on the jury have the option of finding Arias guilty of second-degree murder, too, if they don't believe she planned the attack but think it occurred in the heat of the moment. If convicted on that charge, she could face up to 25 years in prison. A manslaughter conviction carries a sentence of seven to 21 years.

The final statements wrapped up with Arias' lawyer imploring jurors to take an impartial view of his client, even if they don't like her, and prosecutors describing the defendant as a manipulative liar who meticulously planned the attack and is still lying.

“It's not about whether or not you like Jodi Arias. Nine days out of 10, I don't like Jodi Arias. ... But that doesn't matter,” defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told jurors. Arias smiled as he made the remark, then returned to an unemotional gaze.

Nurmi told jurors the entire case was about “fear, love, sex, lies and dirty little secrets” and repeated over and over that the prosecution's theory of a planned attack “doesn't make any sense.”

The trial has become a tabloid and cable TV sensation and has attracted spectators from around the country who line up as early as 2 a.m. for a chance to score a few open seats in the courtroom.

Authorities say Arias, 32, planned the attack on Alexander in June 2008 in his suburban Phoenix home. They say she was enraged because he wanted to end their affair and was preparing for a trip to Mexico with another woman.

Arias initially denied any involvement and later blamed it on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defense when he attacked her after a day of sex.

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