EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

National News

May 22, 2013

Jodi Arias begs for life term; jury deliberates

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 continued her campaign when Judge Sherry Stephens allowed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office to set up media interviews. Within minutes, Arias agreed to talk to several media outlets while in jail, even while the jury deliberates her fate.

The Associated Press was among those scheduled to talk to her.

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.

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