China Arnold's case in '05 of killing her baby in a microwave oven goes to the penalty phase.

Dayton, Ohio - As if she'd been struck, China Arnold shut her eyes tight and let her head drift backward as she heard the jury foreperson announce that she was guilty of aggravated murder in the killing of her 28-day-old daughter in a microwave oven.

Then, as Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman explained what would happen next for the jury, Arnold put her head down and began to weep - silently at first, but then her soft sobs shortly became audible.

This is Arnold's third trial, which will continue Monday with the penalty phase, when the jury will be asked to recommend whether she should be put to death.

The jury of 11 women and one man received the case about 4:30 p.m. Thursday. They deliberated until 8 p.m. before being sequestered in a hotel for the night. Deliberations resumed about 8:30 p.m. Friday and the jury arrived at the verdict just after 11 a.m.

Arnold, 31, recovered her composure after the jury left the courtroom.

Crystal McGhee said she did not believe her niece could get a fair trial in Dayton because of the publicity.

"She was a good mother," McGhee said. "I watched her raise her children."

Bishop Richard Cox, president of the Dayton chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, attended the trial daily. "We still believe she is innocent," he said. "She needs to be set free."

A gag order stopped prosecutors or defense attorneys from speaking about the case.

Paris Talley, Arnold's 28-year-old infant, died after being placed in a microwave on Aug. 30, 2005. Prosecutors said Arnold cooked her baby at her home at 415 Hall Ave. in the since-demolished Parkside Homes complex.

The trial opened April 25. Jury selection took six-and-a-half days, much of it dealing with attitudes about the death penalty, the effects of pre-trial publicity and juror availability for a four-week trial.

Arnold's first trial ended in February 2008, when a boy came forward and said he saw another child put Arnold's daughter in the microwave. The disclosure of the boy, who was 5 at the time the baby died, came after the defense rested its case, causing retired Judge John Kessler to declare a mistrial.

The boy testified in the second trial, before Judge Wiseman, which ended in September 2008.

The jury convicted Arnold of all charges, but during the penalty phase the jury could not agree on whether to sentence Arnold to death.

In a death penalty case, the jury makes a sentencing recommendation, but the judge is the ultimate decider of the sentence.

According to Ohio criminal law, a judge can reject a jury recommendation for death, but cannot impose a sentence of death if the jury does not recommend it.

Wiseman sentenced Arnold to life without the possibility of parole.

In November, a three-judge appeals court panel reversed Arnold's conviction.

Much of the appellate court's decision focused on a former cell mate of Arnold's, who testified in the first trial that Arnold told her she put the baby in the microwave and then recanted that statement in the second trial.

Neither the boy nor the cell mate testified in the third trial.