Jodi Arias Back in Court Today as Death Penalty Looms; Victim Statements, Mitigation Arguments Precede Jury's Final Decision

The engrossing saga of convicted slasher Jodi Arias is wrapping up after the jury took about an hour on Wednesday to decide her fatal attack on Travis Alexander was "especially cruel."

Next up in the marathon trial that's gone on since January 2nd: impact statements by Alexander's family and the penalty (or mitigation) phase of the trial. Arias told a reporter after her May 8 conviction for first-degree murder that Kirk Nurmi, the defense attorney who's stated publicly he doesn't like Arias, told her she has no mitigating factors that might help her stave off execution.

Arias stated in the same interview that she prefers a death sentence to life in prison. That's probably feigned bravado. But if she's serious, state officials say she could be executed in as little as four years.

See also: Jodi Arias Could Be Executed in Just Four Years -- if Her Death Wish Isn't Another Lie

See also: Psycho Killer: Jodi Arias' Kinky Death-Penalty Trial

Highlights of Wednesday's courtroom drama included star prosecutor Juan Martinez asking the court to remain silent for a full two minutes -- the length of estimated time of the attack, which evidence showed began with a Psycho-like surprise stabbing in the shower.

"Each and every time that blade went into his body, it hurt," Martinez said. "It was only death that relieved that pain. It was only death that relieved that anguish, and that is especially cruel."

Arias has shown no remorse for the crime, instead sticking to her ludicrous story of self-defense and selective memory loss. She's expected to address the court on Monday, but it doesn't seem likely she'll make any surprising admissions.

The convicted murderer is selling T-shirts that emblazoned with the word, "Survivor," apparently to convey the idea that she survived the fictional attack by Alexander on the day she killed him.

Judging by their rapid decision on Wednesday, jurors don't want Arias to survive.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.