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The mind of a killer: Unraveling the lies of Jodi Arias

Produced by Jonathan Leach, Josh Gelman, Tom Seligson and Jamie Stolz

"48 Hours" first introduced viewers to Jodi Arias in 2009, when she sat down to talk shortly after being arrested and charged with the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Since then, she has become a national sensation, the focus of newspaper and magazine profiles and the subject of 24-hour cable news coverage.

"48 Hours" correspondent Maureen Maher interviewed Arias at the Estrella Jail four-and-a-half years ago, when she agreed to tell CBS News her story of how Alexander had been murdered -- an interview which, for the first time in the history of "48 Hours", was used as evidence in a death penalty trial.

During the three-hour interview, Arias told Maher a tale of secret intimacy, the drama of masked intruders and, ultimately, a desperate escape. It was an incredible story.

As it turned out, that incredible story was an incredible lie. At her trial, Jodi Arias told the world a new story, weaving a tale of fear and abuse.

"48 Hours" returns to our first meetings with Arias for insight into the mind of a killer.

Video: "48" Hours producer on meeting Jodi Arias

Like Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson before her, Jodi Arias captured the attention of the country. Now, looking back at these interviews, it would appear that Arias thought she could fool everyone. But in the end, Jodi Arias could not have been more wrong.

"I have nothing but time on my hands to think. And that's when I really begin to try and remember and relive that day. And-- and then, it just gets so horrible that I shut it out and I don't want to think about it," Arias told "48 Hours".

It all started in 2008. When Travis Alexander was found dead in his bathroom, the first question homicide investigator Estaban Flores had was "who?"

"When did you first hear the name Jodi Arias?" Maher asked Flores.

"We heard that name from day one -- there were certain individuals who -- who gave us that name and said, 'You need to look into Jodi Arias,'" he replied.

Now, four-and-a-half years after Jodi Arias was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, the question that needed to be answered was "why?"

"Travis Victor Alexander ... an individual that was one of the greatest blessings in her life. Well she knocked the blessings out of him by putting a bullet in his head," prosecutor Juan Martinez addressed the court in his opening statement.

Martinez wasted no time exposing the jury to the brutal reality of this homicide.

"There was a hallway leading up to the bathroom where the shower stall was that was all covered in blood. I noticed large amounts of blood pooling and smears," Officer Sterling Williams testified.

When Maher first walked through the crime scene in 2008, she was struck by the echoes of the extraordinary struggle that had taken place there. And it was the evidence of that struggle collected at the scene that spoke volumes to the jury:

"That's a photograph of the staining on the sink and some of the spatter inside of the sink running down," Crime Scene Investigator Heather Connor testified. "That is red staining on the tile floor in the bathroom."

"That is red staining that was on the carpet in master bedroom," Connor continued. "Latent print 169A was individualized as the left palm of Jodi Ann Arias."

"Is that the bullet?" Martinez questioned Crime Scene Investigator Elizabeth Northcutt.

"Yes, it is," she replied. "This is consistent with the 25 auto bullet."

Complete coverage: Jodi Arias murder trial

One by one, Mesa County Medical Examiner Kevin Horn, listed each of Travis Alexander's devastating wounds:

"Most significant wounds are going to be the neck wound ... the stab wound that penetrates the heart ... and then also the gunshot wound," he testified.

"She really slaughtered him. This was overkill," said criminal attorney Linda Kenny Baden, who worked on the defense teams of Casey Anthony and Phil Spector.

Baden has seen more than her share of murders, but few like this. "This was -- showed that she was an incredible, incredibly angry young woman," she said.

"What piece of evidence sticks out the most in your mind?" Maher asked Baden.

"Well, the piece of evidence that to me is amazing is the -- slit neck wound," she said. "Because it was the coup de grace, in my opinion. It was the ultimate control over him. When he wasn't going to say anything bad to her ever again. ... To me, that was just vicious."

Since her arrest in Yreka, Calif., in 2008, Arias has always insisted that she did not viciously murder Travis Alexander. But her details of how he died have changed repeatedly:

Video: Jodi Arias interrogation

Juan Martinez:"Ma'am, there's -- a number of stories that you gave in this particular case -- involving the killing. There was one that you gave to Detective Flores, right?

Jodi Arias: Yes.

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court]: "He was, like, on his knees like this doing something like this or something like -- I don't know. And I was like -- I was like, 'Are -- are you OK? What's going on? What's going on?' And he was like, 'Go get help, go get help.' And I said 'OK' ... And I turned around, there were two people there, one was a guy and one was a girl."
Juan Martinez: But then you still gave another view of what happened to "48 Hours", right?

Jodi Arias: I think I was inconsistent in my lies. Yes.

Juan Martinez: So let's take a look at -- what you may have said to "48 Hours."

In the 25 years that it's been on the air, this is the first time a "48 Hours" interview has been used as evidence in a death penalty trial:

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court]: "I was hit on the back of the head. I don't think I was out very long, but when I came to ... Travis was on all fours on the tile -- and well, I say all fours, but one of his hands was actually holding his head."
Juan Martinez: And that's -- another version of the events that occurred on June fourth of 2008, correct?

Jodi Arias: Yes.

Juan Martinez: And they're not true? Right?

Jodi Arias: Neither -- of them. Well, it's all the same thing. It's just different versions. Couldn't keep my lies straight.

But Baden says that her experience with other defendants suggests that the story Arias told "48 Hours" may contain elements of the truth.

"Jodi gave us secrets in those interviews. She gave us an insight right into what she is thinking," she explained.

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court]: "She was in the bathroom standing over Travis and I charged her."

"She talked about having a fight with a woman. And she describes the woman who attacked Travis as being, you know, about her height and Caucasian. That's her," said Baden.

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court]: "I ran down that hall and I pushed her as-- as hard as I could and she fell over him."

"She then talks about power later on in that interview, and she talks about having a gun," said Baden.

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court]: "They just kept arguing back and forth-- whether or not, you know, to kill me."

"And if somebody has a gun to your head, you have the ultimate power," Baden continued.

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court]: "It's like everything just stops. When you -- when someone else is sitting there with a gun pointed to your head deciding your fate."

"So I think that a lot of what she was saying about what happened was what happened with her and Travis the day he died," said Baden.

Jodi's various stories aside, the prosecution says there are critical pieces of evidence that speak for themselves.

"These are accidental photographs. These are photographs that the killer did not want taken," Martinez told jurors.

"Jodi, when she did the interview. She at one point says she likes to document everything," Baden pointed out.

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court]: "I've always had my camera. Always. It goes everywhere I go."

"So it's kind of amazing that she actually documented herself committing this murder," said Baden.

"This individual here, you see her foot. You see Mr. Alexander's head, you see his arm, you see him bleeding profusely," told the court, referring one of Arias' photos from the crime scene.

After nine days and 20 witnesses, Martinez believed his case against Jodi Arias was ironclad.

Now, despite all the lies and deceitful behavior that the court has heard, the defense would have to convince the jury that on the day Travis died, it was actually Jodi Arias who was the victim.

Even in jail awaiting trial, Jodi Arias had little trouble keeping herself in the spotlight and caught the attention of the media, when she won a jailhouse Christmas singing competition.

Video: Watch Jodi Arias' performance

And when the defense finally presented its case, Arias took the spotlight again, taking the stand to tell her unbelievable story of self-defense.

Among those listening were her mother, her aunt and Travis's family:

Kirk Nurmi: Did you kill Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008?

Jodi Arias: Yes, I did.

Kirk Nurmi: Why?

Jodi Arias: The simple answer is that he attacked me and -- I defended myself.

But according to trial lawyer Linda Kenney Baden, putting a defendant like Jodi Arias on the stand can be extremely problematic.

"The biggest hurdle is Jodi herself," she said. "Because then the case only becomes about the client and what she said. And that jury is always going to go back to what Jodi said."

And what Arias had to say was shocking:

Jodi Arias: ...I'm taking pictures of him. We were trying out different poses. ...And when I went to delete the photos -- as I moved the -- the camera, it slipped out of my hand.

Kirk Nurmi: ...what happens after you drop the camera?

Jodi Arias: Travis flipped out ... And he stepped out of the shower... and he lifted me up ... And he body slammed me again -- on the tile.

Jodi Arias: I remembered where he kept a gun, so I grabbed it. ...He was chasing me. ...I turned around we were in the middle of the bathroom I pointed it at him with both of my hands. I thought that would stop him, but he just kept running I didn't even think I was holding the trigger I was just pointing it at him ...I didn't even know that I shot him. It just went off and after I broke away from him ...he said, "F----n' kill you, bitch."

Arias' memory of how Travis allegedly attacked her was striking. And yet, she was at a loss for words when asked to explain her actions:

Kirk Nurmi: Once you broke away from him, what do you remember?

Jodi Arias: Almost nothing...

Kirk Nurmi: Do you remember stabbing Travis Alexander?

Jodi Arias: [Crying] I have no memory of stabbing him.

Kirk Nurmi:Do you remember ... dragging him across the floor?

Jodi Arias: No. ...I just remember screaming. I don't remember anything after that.

"...There are many people that never remember the actual events," Dr. Richard Samuels testified.

To help the jury understand why Arias had trouble remembering, the defense called Samuels, a clinical psychologist, who tested Jodi for PTSD.

Juan Martinez: Her first scores on the post-traumatic stress disorder scale, confirmed the presence of PTSD, right?

Dr. Richard Samuels: Yes.

Samuels concluded that Arias suffered amnesia from the trauma of the attack:

Dr. Richard Samuels: ... And its clear from the research a large percentage of individuals who are in such settings do not remember or have cloudy and foggy memories of what has transpired.

Juan Martinez: How many hours did you spend with her?

Dr. Richard Samuels: Between 25 to 30 hours.

But the prosecution insisted that Samuels' diagnosis was flawed, because when he examined Arias three years ago, she still maintained the intruder story:

Juan Martinez: You ... confirmed the presence of PTSD, even though you've just now told us that this is based on a lie?

Dr. Richard Samuels : Perhaps I should have re-administered that test.

"Altered mental states which are of such magnitude that a person has little or no awareness of their behavior are very, very uncommon, if not rare," Dr. Stuart Kleinman, a forensic psychiatrist and consultant for "48 Hours", explained. "So it's very reasonable to ... conclude, this person ... acted out their rage and told lies about it afterwards.

Video: Why Jodi Arias didn't call 911
Complete coverage: Jodi Arias murder trial

Jodi Arias claims she not only has no memory of stabbing Travis more than two dozen times and slitting his throat, but she also has no memory of altering the scene.

It wasn't until after driving hundreds of miles into the desert that her mental fog apparently lifted and she suddenly realized she had done something horribly wrong:

Kirk Nurmi ...Did you believe he was alive?

Jodi Arias (crying): I didn't know but I didn't think he was. ... I was scared. And I couldn't imagine calling 911 and telling them what I had just done.

"...If someone after a crime engages in behavior which ... suggests an effort to cover it up ... then ... that would not be consistent with ... amnesia," Kleinman explained. "If you didn't remember what had happened ... what's the need to cover up something?"

Juan Martinez: You did grant interviews to people from "48 Hours", didn't you?

Jodi Arias: Yes.

Juan Martinez: There were two interviews right?

Martinez hoped that by exposing Arias as a liar, he would discredit her with the jury and once again presented clips from her "48 Hours" interviews:

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court: "Travis' family deserves to know what happened. And because I may be the only person that will ever be able to say what happened that day. ... I wrote them a letter.
Juan Martinez: In that letter, you actually tell the family that the people that did it were this male and this female, right?

Jodi Arias: Yes.

Juan Martinez: So you lied to them, didn't you?

Jodi Arias: Yes.

Arias' "48 Hours" interview [shown in court: "When you asked me if I was angry and outraged. I'm more angry and outraged that his life was taken and that he had so much potential.

"I know that I'm innocent and though this is a very serious thing to be charged with there's no reason for me to be sad because I know that that I'm not - that I had never hurt Travis.

"I did see Travis the day he passed away and a lot of things happened that day. I almost lost my life as well."

Juan Martinez: Nowhere -- in that recitation or in any of the interviews that you gave with "48 Hours" did you ever indicate that you had memory loss, correct?

Jodi Arias: That's correct.

"...It takes a certain kind of ... person with great chutzpah to go on national television and tell a big lie to the entire world," said Kleinman.

Complete coverage: Jodi Arias murder trial

And Arias displayed that same tenacity during her 18 days on the witness stand.

Juan Martinez: You say that you have memory problems but it depends on the circumstance, right?

Jodi Arias: That's right.

Juan Martinez: What factors influence you're having a memory problem?

Jodi Arias: Usually when men like you are screaming at me or grilling me or someone like Travis doing the same.

Throughout the heated cross examination, Martinez vigorously attacked Arias' story:

Juan Martinez: Ma'am were you crying when you were shooting him? Jodi Arias: (Crying) I don't remember.

Juan Martinez: ...Were you crying when you were stabbing him?

Jodi Arias: (Crying) I don't remember.

Juan Martinez: ...How 'bout when you cut his throat? Were you crying then?

Jodi Arias: (Crying) I don't know.

But to save their client's life, the defense tried to destroy the only thing left of Travis Alexander: his reputation.

"...The instances of violence were becoming more frequent and more severe," defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told the court. "...Fear, love, sex, lies and dirty little secrets will help you understand ... I think what happened in those three minutes."

For the entire time that Jodi Arias' fate hung in the balance in court, her defense was on a mission to save her life by proving Travis Alexander left Jodi no choice but to defend herself.

"Jodi's life was in danger. ... She would either live or she would die," defense attorney Jennifer Willmott told the jury. "Jodi had to make a choice.

"The million-dollar question is what would have forced her to do it?" Willmott continued.

Arias' answer? An accusation of her own.

"It was Travis's continual abuse. And on June fourth of 2008, it had reached a point of no return," said Willmott.

Jodi Arias now claimed there was a dark side to Travis and that she lied to cover up the truth about domestic abuse in their relationship.

"Her fear and her panic about what had happened led her to tell different stories," Willmott continued. "He threatened to kill her, and given her experience with him, she had no reason to not believe him."

It was a challenging defense -- one that, in addition to her story of intruders, Arias may have been considering when she spoke with "48 Hours" just after her arrest.

"Was he ever abusive to you in any way?" Maher asked Arias in 2009.

"He lost his temper a few times, and it wasn't anything that really required me to -- I never felt my life was in danger, I'll say that," she replied.

"Did you show the physical signs of it? Maher asked.

"Yes, but I was able to hide it pretty well, I think," Arias said. "Arms, legs, torso."

But Arias testified to several incidents of alleged abuse:

"He body slammed me on the floor at the foot of his bed," she testified. "He called me a bitch and he kicked me in the ribs. He went to kick me again and I put my hand out ... And it clipped my hand and hit my finger."

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi even had Arias display her injuries to the jury:

Kirk Nurmi: Could you hold up your hand for us so we could see?

Jodi Arias: [Jodi displays a crooked finger to jury]

Kirk Nurmi: Why didn't you call the police?

Jodi Arias: I would've never called the police on Travis.

There is no record of Arias reporting this abuse, and his friends, Chris and Sky Hughes, say that is not the Travis they knew.

"We've never, ever seen any evidence of abuse," Chris Hughes said.

"They couldn't find one human other than Jodi, who we know is a liar. ...

They couldn't find one person -- that had a story of being abused by Travis."

"She's making it up as she's going along," said Sky Hughes.

And they say Arias' most appalling lie came next:

Jodi Arias:: I walked in and Travis ... started grabbing at something on the bed ... it was a photograph.

Kirk Nurmi: What was the photograph of?

Jodi Arias:: It was a picture of a little boy. ... he was dressed in underwear. ... He seemed very ashamed with himself.

"She's saying this whole time she knew he was a pedophile," Sky Hughes said. "They're just lies."

Juan Martinez: You saw him do that? That's a lie, isn't it, ma'am?

Jodi Arias I wish it was a lie.

Complete coverage: Jodi Arias murder trial

Prosecutor Martinez wasn't buying it either.

"It is a hateful allegation with nothing to support it," he told the jury. "It's so easy for her to make these allegations. ...It's so easy for her to get on the witness stand, as you've seen, and lie. And this is really the pinnacle."

Trial attorney Linda Kenney Baden says if the defense couldn't prove Arias' allegations, they would come back to haunt her.

"To say that she was physically abused and she was fighting for her life that day -- and that's why she had to kill him, that's just gonna get the jury angry," she said.

To convince jurors that Arias was a battered woman, her attorney, Jennifer Willmott, called domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette - who testified for several days:

Jennifer Willmott: And do you believe in your expert opinion that Jodi was a battered woman or is a battered woman?

Alyce LaViolette: Yes, I do.

Jennifer Willmott:How would you characterize ... their relationship at this point in time given your expertise in the area?

Alyce LaViolette: I would call it a domestically abusive relationship.

LaViolette testified that Jodi and Travis's relationship was abusive both verbally and physically:

Jennifer Willmott: Does he call her names like bitch?

Alyce LaViolette: Yes.

Jennifer Willmott: ... and calling her a whore?

Alyce LaViolette: Yes. ...He grabbed her by the shoulders, threw her to the ground and then told her she wasn't leaving...And when she hits the floor, she makes a sound and he says basically, "Don't act like that hurts, bitch."

"As a defense attorney, how would you use this relationship between the two of them? Maher asked Baden.

"You can't go after a victim," she replied. "Going after a victim in a courtroom, you might as well just turn in your license really. ...So you have to be able to be very soft with regard to Travis here."

The prosecutor was anything but soft during heated cross examination:

Juan Martinez: You actually are -- biased in favor of the defendant, aren't you?

Alyce LaViolette: I don't believe I'm biased. You're mischaracterizing what I do Mr. Martinez?

Juan Martinez: One of the questions here is why is it that you felt the need to caudle her?

Alyce LaViolette: Mr. Martinez are you angry at me?

Juan Martinez: Ma'am, is that relevant to you? Is that important to you? ...Does that make any difference to your evaluation whether or not the prosecutor is angry? Yes or no?!

Alyce LaViolette: If you were in my group I would ask you to take a timeout, Mr. Martinez.

More layers of Arias' complicated psyche were peeled away when the state called its expert witness, Dr. Janeen DeMarte.

"This --reporting of domestic violence has changed over time frequently," DeMarte testified. "My opinion is that there did not appear to be significant - abuse."

Dr. DeMarte also dismissed defense claims that Arias suffered memory loss from post traumatic stress.

"She indicated to me that she had a very large gap in her memory," she told the court. "That's not how it typically presents with traumatic memories."

Instead, DeMarte testified that tests she administered suggest Arias may have a borderline personality disorder.

"You could see it in her journal entries that went from happy to sad very quickly," DeMarte continued. "There is some indication that she has some anger problems. That she had some ... strong feelings of anger internally."

"She couldn't let him go. Even from Yreka she couldn't let him go," Martinez told jurors.

The prosecutor said Arias' desire to be with Travis had no bounds and she would stop at nothing to get what she wanted.

"Her motivation for this was that she just wanted him," he said.

Asked if Arias could have just snapped, Baden told Maher, "No. ...This was a buildup that led to her ultimately making a decision in a passionate way."

By continuing to have sex with Arias -- on and off -- for at least nine months after they broke up, Baden says Travis may have unknowingly sent Jodi mixed signals.

"He really didn't know and probably didn't care, because ... you're young. You're having sex. The way Jodi made it very easy for him. And he didn't realize that he had this rattlesnake by the neck. Whatever he did fed into her craziness, fed into her insanity, fed -- her desire that she wanted him, and she wanted to control him, and she wanted to have a life with him," Baden explained. " was the perfect storm that something had to happen."

"She had a vision that they were going to get married. And from that point, she would not let that go and she would not let Travis go," Sky Hughes said. "Jodi could not deal with the rejection ... Lots of people told Jodi to move on. ...And she said, 'I can't ... he'd be the most amazing husband. I can't picture anyone else being the father of my children.' ...She was obsessed."

Dr. Stuart Kleinman says obsession can have dangerous consequences.

"If a person has an intense need for something and a clear, consistent boundary is put up by another individual, that will probably help both of those individuals," he explained. "And ultimately, if that need is never ... going to really be satisfied creates an intense level of rage."

"Was sex a tool for Jodi? Of course it was," Baden said. "But was Travis playing with fire? Absolutely."

For the families of Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander, enduring the trial was a trial in itself.

Juan Martinez: What are we looking at here?

Officer Sterling Williams: That's the shower stall with the body crammed down in the bottom of it.

"Oh, it's very, very hard. I mean, they're-- they're never gonna get over this," trial attorney Linda Kenney Baden said. She knows the price both families paid. "Just as much as Travis lost his life, there's gonna be parts of that family there that have died in the process."

It was an unthinkable crime -- as Travis' siblings, Samantha and Steven, told "48 Hours" in 2008.

"It's just this-- horrible, horrible thing happened to the best person," Samantha said. "And you would never in a million years think that that would happen to Travis. Because ... things like this don't happen to people like Travis."

"You're the one who did this, right?" Martinez asked Arias on the witness stand as he put a picture of Travis' body on a projector

"Yes," she replied, crying.

The family of Jodi Arias had to endure their own torment. First, watching as she was cast as a cold-blooded killer.

"And you would acknowledge that a lot of the stab wounds ... were ... to the back of the head and back of the torso, correct?" Martinez asked Arias.

"OK," she said in tears. "I didn't count them. I don't know. I'll take your word for it.

And then hearing Arias tell the world that she's been abused her entire life:

Defense attorney: You told us that dad hit you with a belt after age 7. Did he leave welts?

Jodi Arias: He didn't leave welts as often as my mom. She also used a belt. My dad was very intimidating, so I don't think he needed to hit as quite as hard to get the point across.

"She's lying. She's making it all up," Martinez told the court in his closing. "She has staged her defense by lies."

"Do you think jurors are impacted by family who are in the courtroom, their reaction to say crime scene photos or even testimony by the defendant?" Maher asked jury expert Richard Gabriel.

"I think they are," he replied. "They do a very good job of compartmentalizing it."

Gabriel, who has worked with the defense teams for Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson, says jurors are able to separate themselves from courtroom drama.

"Does it impact them when they hear sobs in the galley? Yes. They absolutely hear that,' Gabriel said. "But -- they do a pretty good job of trying to divorce themselves from that."

"The jury's not gonna feel sorry for Jodi. They can only feel sorry for her family, and hope that the sorrow they feel for her family is more merciful than -- what she felt for Travis," said Baden.

And during her 18 days on the stand, Baden says, Arias thought she could win the mercy of the jury.

"Some defendants are manipulative. And -- they think they can manipulate the police ... they also think they can manipulate the courtroom. And that's the problem. You can't manipulate everybody," she pointed out.

Travis' friends, Chris and Sky Hughes, believe Arias relished her months in the spotlight.

Her being on the stand for so long was just disgusting," Sky Hughes said. "She enjoyed it. She enjoyed every moment of it. She enjoyed the attention. She enjoyed toying with people. She enjoyed, you know, looking over and making up these just disgusting stories for the jury."

Jodi Arias may have felt there was no question she would be found innocent, but the jurors had some questions of their own -- over 200 questions read by the judge. Arizona is only one of three states that allows jurors to ask questions:

Question: How could you kiss another man when you knew what you just did to Travis?

Question: Why were you afraid of the consequences if you killed Travis in self-defense?

Question: You said that one of your worse fears was for everyone to find out what was going on in your relationship. So why did you talk to "48 Hours" and other TV stations...?

"I thought that the jurors in this case had better questions than the prosecutor or defense many times," Baden commented.

She says those jury questions were telling. "They really got to the heart of the matter."

Judge: After all the lies you have told, why should we believe you now?

Jodi Arias: The lies that I've told in this case can be tied directly back to either protecting Travis' reputation or my involvement in his death.

In the end, both sides agreed it came down to one question: do you believe Jodi Arias?

"...she premeditated it, you now have a duty," said the prosecutor. "You are to reach a decision as to whether or not the defendant committed first-degree murder."

"So what I'm saying to you ladies and gentlemen is ultimately if Miss Arias is guilty of any crime at all, it is the crime of manslaughter and nothing more," urged the defense.

But for the family and friends of Travis Alexander, there was no debate and there never had been. There was only one verdict - one punishment - appropriate for Jodi Arias.

"I want the maximum that the law will allow," said Chris Hughes.

"Ultimately, I really hope that she gets the death penalty," said Samantha Alexander.

Justice, and what it would finally look like, would depend on just which Jodi Arias the jury in this tense Phoenix courtroom ultimately bought into.

"She does seem to adapt, which is why I think she is like a praying mantis -- here ... that she is a chameleon," said Linda Kenney Baden.

"Jodi's a manipulator. That's what she does," said Chris Hughes.

Complete coverage: Jodi Arias murder trial

Through 18 days of her testimony, the world had witnessed the many faces of Jodi Arias.

"She's always reading the environment, right, trying to determine how she's supposed to act. She's always tryin' to be something that she's not, right?" said Chris Hughes.

"When I see Jodi Arias, I just ... feel utter disgust," Sky Hughes said. "...she's not human ... she doesn't feel like normal people feel."

For Travis Alexander's loved ones, Jodi Arias is nothing but a fake.

"Don't be fooled by Jodi's -- sweet demeanor .She's a liar. And she's evil. And-- and she deserves to be judged and convicted," Travis' sister, Samantha, said.

The stories told by the 32-year-old California waitress were consistent with just one thing: a defendant who lied from the start -- to family, police and to "48 Hours".

"How do you feel about being accused of this crime?" Maker asked Arias.

"I know that I won't be held accountable for killing him. Because I had nothing to do with that," she replied. "I had everything to lose and nothing to gain if I were to kill Travis."

It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only four years.

"If a conviction happens I know I won't be the first person wrongfully convicted, and possibly wrongly sentenced to prison or the death penalty," said Arias.

Then, that story evaporated in the Arizona desert. What was left was an admission:

Juan Martinez: And that's when you shot him in the face, right?

Jodi Arias: Yeah, that's when the gun went off.

And an excuse:

"An he's screaming angry. He had already almost killed me," she testified.

For those who loved him, the thought that Travis Alexander somehow had it coming to him was the final crime against a murdered man.

"She slaughtered him on June fourth, and then she slaughtered him everyday for the last five years with the lies that she's told," said Sky Hughes.

After three days of deliberations there was a verdict:

The State of Arizona versus Jodi Ann Arias, verdict, count one. We the jury duly impaneled and sworn in the above and type of action upon our oaths do find the defendant, as to count one, first-degree murder, guilty.

Guilty of first-degree murder -- the highest charge the jury had.

The death penalty was now on the table. Jody Arias seemed shocked, holding back tears of sadness. Travis' family could not hold back their tears of joy.

"I'd rather have Travis Alexander back. I'd rather have my buddy back, but we can't have him back so I'm as happy as I can be given the circumstances," said Chris Hughes.

A week after the verdict, the sentencing phase begins with the prosecutor trying to convince the jury Jodi Arias deserves death.

"The last thing that Mr. Alexander felt was this knife coming towards him," said Martinez.

The first decision comes quickly. The jury rules the murder was "especially cruel," clearing the way for the penalty phase.

On Thursday, May 16, the jury heard from those who loved Travis Alexander.

"Why him? Unfortunately I won't get an answer to my questions, like how much did he suffer?" said his brother, Stephen.

"Travis was not shy. He was full of life," said Samantha.

And the jury heard from the defense, that Arias would testify one more time.

"And talk to you about how she viewed her life," Kirk Nurmi told jurors.

That should be next week, when we may also find out whether Jodi Arias lives in an Arizona prison for a minimum of 25 years or dies there.

Four years ago she seemed to sense her fate.

"If I had my choice I would take the death penalty because I don't want to spend the rest of my life in prison," Arias told "48 Hours".

After her guilty verdict, Arias seemed almost wistful in talking to a local reporter.

"I believe death is the ultimate freedom so I'd rather just have my freedom - as soon as I can get it," she said.

Freedom wasn't an option for Travis Alexander. He is buried in Riverside, Calif.; his image silent and cold, carved in his head stone.

And soon we'll see if Jodi Arias gets her wish ... joining three other women on Arizona's death row and perhaps making one final headline, becoming the first woman executed in that state since 1930.

If Jodi Arias is given the death penalty, there will be at least one mandatory appeal. It could take to 20 years to carry out her sentence.

If sentenced to death, Arias will spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.

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