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 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.”
After Arias finished speaking, the judge told jurors they could consider a handful of factors when deciding her sentence, including assertions from the defense that Arias is a good friend and a talented artist. Arias displayed her drawings and paintings for the jury during her slideshow.
Stephens also explained to jurors that their finding would be final, emphasizing the fact that Arias’ life is literally in their hands.
“You will determine whether the defendant will be sentenced to life in prison or death,” Stephens told the panel. “Your decision is not a recommendation.”
However, if the jury decides on a life sentence, it will be up to the judge to determine whether Arias should spend her entire life behind bars or have a chance at release after 25 years.
Read more in Wednesday’s Arizona Daily Star and at azstarnet.com