'This is the worst mistake of my life: 'Jodi Arias tearfully pleads with jurors to spare her life
Convicted killer Jodi Arias tearfully pleaded with jurors to spare her from a death sentence on Tuesday during a bizarre 25-minute testimony in which she pledged, if allowed to live, to donate her hair to cancer patients and start a prison recycling program.
'I have made many public statements that i would prefer the death penalty to life in prison,' Arias told jurors. In each of those cases, 'I lacked perspective,' she said.
'Until very recently I could not imagine standing before you all and asking for you to give me life,' she said. 'But as I stand here now I cannot in good conscience ask you to sentence me to death.'
Arias made the statements as she tried desperately to humanize herself to jurors by sharing childhood photographs, talking about her 'red-headed stage' and displaying the drawings she has created while in prison.
Convicted killer Jodi Arias tearfully pleaded with jurors to spare her from a death sentence on Tuesday during a bizarre 25-minute testimony
Convicted: Arias, 32, was found guilty earlier this month in the premeditated murder of Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008
Heartbroken: Sandra Arias, mother of Jodi Arias, wipes tears away as her daughter addresses the jury
Family: Members of Arias' family, including her sister (front left) and mother (front center) and father (front right) listen to her testimony in court on Tuesday
Arias, 32, was found guilty earlier this month in the premeditated murder of Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He had been stabbed multiple times, had his throat slashed and been shot in the face.
'This is the worst mistake of my life,' Arias said. 'It's the worst thing I have ever done...Before that day I wouldn't even want to harm a spider.'
Listing ways that she could contribute positively from prison, Arias promised to teach women how to speak Spanish and to help improve literacy among inmates, as well as start a book club.
Arias also noted that she has avoided looking at Alexander's family during the trial.
'It's never been my intention to throw mud on Travis's name,' she said. 'I loved Travis and I looked up to him. At one point, he was the world to me.'
She choked up as she spoke about the impact of her crime on her own family, saying they would be destroyed if she was sentenced to death.
'I want everyone's healing to begin and everyone's pain to stop,' she said. She also grew emotional while talking about her the fact that she will never be able to have children as a result of her actions.
Somber: Judge Sherry Stephens listens to Jodi Arias address the jury on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 during the penalty phase of her murder trial
T-shirt sales: Arias holds up a T-shirt she designed for domestic violence survivors
Arias shared this photo of herself and her father (left) as well as this portrait from when she was 17 (right)
Former loves: Arias is pictured with former boyfriends Bobby Juarez (left) and Darryl Brewer (right)
'I'm not going to have children of my own,' she said. 'I'm not going to become a mother. Because of my own terrible choices, I've had to lay that dream to rest.'
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens on Monday denied requests by the defense for a mistrial and to withdraw from the case. She also denied a motion for a stay to give the defense time to appeal her decisions to the Arizona Supreme Court.
The defense said it would not call any more witnesses.
In a post-conviction television interview, the soft-spoken former waitress said she would prefer the death penalty to life in prison, and she was temporarily placed on suicide watch in jail.
In the mitigation phase of the trial, the defense had hoped to call Arias' friend Patricia Womack to testify on her behalf. But defense counsel Kirk Nurmi told the court on Monday that Womack had received threats and would not testify.
Artist: Arias shared some of her drawings that she has done while in prison. Illustrated on the left is Elizabeth Taylor. On the right is Elvis Presley.
Pleading: 'Until very recently I could not imagine standing before you all and asking for you to give me life,' she said. 'But as I stand here now I cannot in good conscience ask you to sentence me to death'
Saying Womack's absence would deny the jury a full picture of Arias' life prior to meeting Alexander in 2006, Nurmi unsuccessfully requested a mistrial, which would have affected the sentencing portion of the trial while leaving her murder conviction intact.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez told the court on Monday that, in a prior interview with Womack, she had refused to answer questions about her drug use. He said that her refusal to incriminate herself would have precluded her from testifying.
The jury that convicted Arias of murder found last week she had acted with extreme cruelty and ruled her eligible for the death penalty.
The murder trial has featured graphic testimony and photographs as well as a sex tape and became a sensation on cable television news with the tale of an attractive, young woman charged with an unthinkable crime.
Arias has said she shot Alexander with his own pistol when he attacked her in a rage because she dropped his camera while taking snapshots of him in the shower. She said she did not remember stabbing him.
Pressure: Jodi Arias looks at her family during the penalty phase of her murder trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on Monday. No witnesses are speaking in her defense
Martinez said Arias had repeatedly stabbed Alexander for two minutes as he tried to escape from the bathroom. She then followed the bleeding victim down a hallway and slashed his throat when he was too weak to get away.
Alexander, a 30-year-old businessman and motivational speaker with whom Arias said she was having an on-again, off-again affair, knew he was going to die and was unable to resist his attacker at that point, Martinez said.
Last week, Nurmi walked jurors through eight mitigating factors they are being asked to consider as they mull Arias' punishment. Among the factors is whether Arias, who was 27 at the time of the murder and had no criminal history, had suffered abuse.