Jodi Arias tearfully pleaded with jurors to spare her from a death sentence in Travis Alexander murder case 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,” Jodi 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.”
Jodi Arias, 32, 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.
Jodi Arias 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 st**bed multiple times, had his throat sla**ed and been shot in the face.
“This is the worst mistake of my life,” Jodi 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, Jodi Arias promised to teach women how to speak Spanish and to help improve literacy among inmates, as well as start a book club.
Jodi Arias also noted that she has avoided looking at Travis 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.”
Jodi Arias 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.
“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.”
In closing statements later Tuesday, Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott asked the jury to consider that “people are far better than their very worst deed”.
Jennifer Willmott claimed that Jodi Arias’ personality disorder and alleged emotional abuse that she observed between her mother and father “is in no way an excuse for killing [Travis Alexander]”, but they could have contributed to her crime and should therefore be considered when weighing the death penalty.
“While what she did was absolutely horrible, you have convicted her of that,” Jennifer Willmott said.
“Two wrongs do not make a right.”
“Jodi can still contribute to this world. Her life still has value,” she continued.
“We are asking you to find that Jodi’s life is worth saving.”
Prosecutor Juan Martinez followed up Jennifer Willmott by showing jurors a photograph of Travis Alexander’s bl***ied body from the scene of the murder.
The image caused a physical reaction among members of Travis Alexander’s family who were present, with several turning their heads, shielding their eyes and letting out sobs.
“Travis Alexander was 30 years old [when he was murdered],” Juan Martinez said.
“He’s still today 30 years old, because of her.”
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens had 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.
The jury that convicted Jodi 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 testimony and photographs as well as a s** tape and became a sensation on cable television news with the tale of an attractive, young woman charged with an unthinkable crime.
Jodi Arias has said she shot Travis 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 sta**ing him.
Juan Martinez said Jodi Arias had repeatedly sta**ed Travis Alexander for two minutes as he tried to escape from the bathroom. She then followed the bleeding victim down a hallway and sla**ed his throat when he was too weak to get away.
Travis Alexander, a 30-year-old businessman and motivational speaker with whom Jodi 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, Juan Martinez said.