May 22, 2013 in Nation/World

Arias asks jury for life in prison

Suspect was found guilty of murder
Brian Skoloff Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Jodi Arias addresses the jury Tuesday during the penalty phase of her murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.
(Full-size photo)

PHOENIX – Jodi Arias begged jurors Tuesday to give her life in prison, saying she “lacked perspective” when she told a local reporter in an interview that she preferred execution to spending the rest of her days in jail.

Standing confidently but at times her voice breaking, Arias told the same eight men and four women who found her guilty of murdering her one-time boyfriend that she planned to use her time in prison to bring about positive changes, including donating her hair to be made into wigs for cancer victims, helping establish prison recycling programs and designing T-shirts to raise money for domestic abuse victims.

She also said she could run book clubs and teach classes to prisoners to “stimulate conversations of a higher nature.”

Arias became emotional as she displayed for jurors photos of her friends, boyfriends and family members, including newborn relatives she has met only from behind bars.

She pleaded with jurors to reject the death penalty 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.”

Arias admitted killing Travis Alexander and said it was the “worst thing” she had ever done. But she stuck to her story that the brutal attack – which included stabbing and slashing Alexander nearly 30 times, shooting him in the head and nearly decapitating him – was her defense against abuse.

“To this day, I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence. But I know that I was,” she said. “And for that, I’m going to be sorry for the rest of my life.”

The jury heard closing arguments later Tuesday, with defense attorney Jennifer Willmott citing Arias’ mental health problems and lack of a criminal record among the reasons to spare her life.

After closing arguments, the jury was sent to start deliberations. They adjourned for the day less than two hours later and were scheduled to begin again this morning.

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