National News

Jodi Arias jury begins deliberating life or death sentence after Arias pleads for life

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Jodi Arias reads a statement to a jury during a penalty hearing on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Arias pleaded for a life sentence after stating in a post-conviction interview that she preferred death to life in prison.

Jodi Arias reads a statement to a jury during a penalty hearing on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Arias pleaded for a life sentence after stating in a post-conviction interview that she preferred death to life in prison. (KABC Photo)

A jury began deliberating Tuesday whether Jodi Arias will face execution or spend the rest of her life in prison.

This came after Arias pleaded for her life to the same jury that convicted her of first-degree murder of her lover, Travis Alexander.

At the penalty hearing, Arias read a statement to jurors while showing them a slideshow of her life. She told jurors that she would use her time in prison for positive things, like donating her hair to cancer patients, helping establish prison recycling programs and designing T-shirts that would raise money for domestic violence victims.

But she concluded with an argument to spare her life for the sake of her family.

"I'm asking you to please, please don't do that to them. I've already hurt them so badly, along with so many other people," she said. "I want everyone's healing to begin, and I want everyone's pain to stop."

Her lawyer, Jennifer Willmott, also told the jury that people are "far better people than their very worst deed."

Arias' attorneys unsuccessfully tried to withdraw from the case after Arias gave her post-conviction TV interview.

"Longevity runs in my family, and I don't want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place," Arias told a Fox reporter. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."

But in an apparent change of heart, Arias told jurors during Tuesday's hearing that she wanted to live.

"Though I meant it, I lacked perspective. To me life in prison was the most unappealing outcome. ... But as I stand here now, I cannot in good conscience ask you to sentence me to death because of them," she said.

Arias stuck to her story that she stabbed and slashed Alexander nearly 30 times, shot him and nearly decapitated him in self defense against abuse.

Defense attorneys wanted to call witnesses to speak on her behalf at the hearing, including Arias' female friend and an ex-boyfriend. But the judge denied the motion Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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