Court cancels sentencing phase in Arias trial until May 15 - Tucson News Now

UPDATE

Court cancels sentencing phase in Arias trial until May 15

Jodi Arias as guilty verdict was read on Wednesday. (Source: KPHO-TV) Jodi Arias as guilty verdict was read on Wednesday. (Source: KPHO-TV)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The sentencing phase in the Jodi Arias murder trial, due to get underway Thursday afternoon, was canceled until May 15.

No explanation for the delay was given. 

Jurors were supposed to hear Thursday from witnesses for the prosecution and defense.

They began deliberating Arias' guilt Friday afternoon and read the verdict just before 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Once the proceeding gets underway next week, there is a lot on the table - not just a simple guilty or innocent verdict.

The state got what they were hoping for, a first-degree murder conviction, claiming that Arias meticulously planned the killing of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, carried it out and tried to cover it up.

The defense wanted the jury to acquit Arias and rule that she killed Alexander in self-defense because she feared for her life.

Based on the verdict, all 12 deliberating jurors were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Arias preplanned the killing to find her guilty of first-degree murder.

Arias now faces the death penalty, natural life in prison or a life sentence with a chance of release after 25 years.

Arias herself on Wednesday told KSAZ-TV in Phoenix that she preferred the death penalty over life imprisonment. She said death is the "ultimate freedom" and that she feared her family's history of longevity would come into play if she were sentenced to life in prison.

A second-degree murder conviction would have carried a sentence of 10 to 22 years.

Sentencing for a manslaughter verdict would have ranged between seven and 21 years.

Had the jurors been convinced it was self-defense, Arias would have been acquitted and walked free.

Stay with cbs5az.com for team coverage.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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