Rob Schumacher / AP file
Jodi Arias, seen in court on May 15, is expected to speak to the jury that will decide whether she should get the death penalty.
Asking a jury that had convicted her of murder to now let her live, Jodi Arias said in a Phoenix courtroom Tuesday that she never meant to cause her victim’s family so much pain and that if she was given a life sentence she would contribute to society.
“This is the worst mistake of my life. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done,” Arias said of the brutal killing of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. “To this day, I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence.”
Arias, 32, was found guilty earlier this month of the 2008 murder of Alexander, whose body was found in the shower of his Phoenix-area home. He had been stabbed 27 times, shot in the face and had his throat slashed.
The same jury has already ruled that Arias is eligible for the death penalty, finding that she acted with extreme cruelty.
Arias told the jury during the sentencing phase that she had contemplated suicide, saying, “I saw it as taking myself off of life support.” But she said thoughts of her own family kept her from following through.
Speaking of the pain her death would cause her family, she said: “I’m asking you, please, please don’t do that to them.”
“I want everyone’s pain to stop.”
Before Arias made her statement, the judge noted that it was not made under oath and not subject to cross-examination.
Arias told jurors that if they gave her a life sentence, she could still make a contribution to society, something she didn’t realize when she thought of suicide.
“I didn’t know then that if I got life instead of death I could get a job (in prison) and become self-reliant,” Arias said.
A glimpse inside the Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Ariz., where convicted murderer Jodi Arias has lived for the past four years. Arias spends 23 hours a day in her jail cell, which is located in a maximum security area of the facility. NBC's Diana Alvear reports.
She said she also would like to participate in volunteer programs in prison. Arias said that since her arrest she had made three donations of her hair to Locks of Love, a program that provides wigs to cancer patients. She said she also would like to teach Spanish and American Sign Language to other prisoners. She also spoke of starting a recycling program in prison.
Arias even showed jurors several photos of members of her family, including children born since her arrest.
“I won’t be at my sister’s wedding, when she ties the knot next year,” Arias said. “I won’t be her wedding photographer like we always talked about.”
After Arias finished her statement, the judge gave the jury final instructions for making their decision on the penalty.