In "Conviction: The untold story of putting Jodi Arias behind bars" by Juan Martinez, he writes the following lines

"This third gas can, you actually bought it in Salinas, didn't you?" "Yes," Arias answered. And for that one instance, I saw a a cornered look in her eyes.

What does this phrase mean?

Out of the corner of one's eye means to look at something indirectly. But the phrase above doesn't seem to be meaning that someone is looking at something in a certain way. It seems to carry a type of emotion with it right? I am curious to know what the facial expression looks like when someone is engaging in the above behavior.

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    A somewhat related idiom is to paint oneself into a corner. Originally about a person who is repainting the floor in a house, and, unwittingly, progresses away from the doors so that in the end they are trapped in a corner with no way without walking across the fresh paint :-) Aug 3 '19 at 15:22

If you are chasing someone (or something), one way of capturing them (e.g. your prey) is to corner them. That is, drive them into a place, where it is difficult for them to escape because you can control all the exit routes. In Merriam-Webster this is the meaning 1a, when corner is used as a verb (which is the case here).

When cornered, the target will either have to fight their way out, or resign to their fate. The emotions corresponding to these two options will definitely cause them to have different looks in their eyes. I don't know the story you quote, but it does sound like Arias is sensing that the questioner got it right, and feels the pressure. May be them buying a can of gas is evidence of their guilt?

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    Cornered can be replaced by trapped. Aug 3 '19 at 14:22

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