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Jodi Arias' Fate In Jury's Hands

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JODI ARIAS
The jury is deliberating Arias' fate. | In Session -- Pool Camera

Jodi Ann Arias, who once boldly said a jury would never convict her, waited on Tuesday for jurors to complete deliberations that could end in sentencing her to death.

The same jury of eight men and four women who last week convicted Arias of first-degree murder in the death of her 30-year-old ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander are debating whether she should be sentenced to death.

In the hearing preceding the jury's deliberations, defense attorney Jennifer Willmott asked the jury to save Arias' life. "Jodi took Travis away. She took him away from his family and she took him away from this world, but two wrongs do not make a right ... You have a choice ... We are asking you to find that Jodi's life is worth saving," Willmott said.

But prosecutor Juan Martinez demanded death.

"Mr. Alexander was only 30 and will forever be 30," Martinez said. "Mr. Alexander is no longer going to have any more yesterdays ... You have a duty ... the difficult thing under these circumstances -- the only thing you can do -- is return a verdict of death," Martinez said.

Arias, 32, was convicted in the 2008 slaying of Alexander, who she stabbed nearly 30 times and shot in the head. The verdict, reached after more than 15 hours of deliberations, was a clear rejection of defense psychologist Richard Samuels' contention that she suffered from PTSD and acute stress disorder.

The 32-year-old defendant, dressed in black on Tuesday, pleaded with the jury to spare her life. "I loved Travis and I looked up to him. At one point he meant the world to me," Arias said. "To this day I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence."

Arias maintained she was a victim of domestic violence, whether anyone believed it or not, and said she had a lot to offer other inmates if she received a life sentence. She said she could teach people to read and write, and could help raise awareness about domestic violence.

During her 19-week trial, Arias' attorneys were unable to produce a shred of evidence to support her contention that she had been physically abused by Alexander. And, as the prosecution pointed out, there are no police reports or other supporting documents indicating abuse.

On Tuesday, Arias referenced a statement she made to the media on May 8, that she would prefer the death penalty.

"I've made many statements I would prefer the death penalty over life in prison ... To me, life in prison was the most unappealing outcome ... but as I stand here now, I can't in good conscience ask you to give me death," Arias said.

The jury began deliberating Arias' fate around 6 p.m. ET. Members will ultimately decide if she receives the death penalty or life in prison.

TUESDAY'S LIVE BLOG:

live blog

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The jury has finished deliberating for the day. They will continue tomorrow.

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The jury is deliberating Arias' fate.

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The judge is giving the jury their final instructions.

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"We are asking you to find mercy," Willmott said.

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"It is an awful, awful thing that she did," Willmott said. "But your conviction of first-degree murder is how [Alexander's family] will get peace."

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Willmott is again talking about Arias' alleged personality disorder.

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"The simple question that's before you is do you kill her? That's the question," Willmott said in her rebuttal.

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Court is back in session.

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The judge has called a 15 minute recess. The live blog will resume when the trial continues.

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"You have a duty ... the difficult thing under these circumstances -- the only thing you can do -- is return a verdict of death," Martinez said.

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Martinez said there is also no documentation to support Arias' allegations that Alexander had abused her.

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Martinez is pointing out there are not reports on record to substantiate Arias' claims that she was abused as a child.

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The defense is objecting to almost everything Martinez is saying. The attorneys are at yet another sidebar with the judge.

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"There is a criminal history," Martinez said, referring to Arias lying to law enforcement about her involvement in Alexander's slaying.

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The attorneys are at another sidebar with the judge.

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"Mr. Alexander was only 30 and will forever be 30," Martinez said. "Mr. Alexander is no longer going to have any more yesterdays."

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Martinez said Arias' age is not a mitigating factor.

"She had lived a very full life," Martinez said.

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"Somehow, if you have a skill, you are entitled ... that is not a mitigating factor," Martinez said, referring to the artwork Arias showed the jury earlier today.

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The attorneys are at another sidebar with the judge.

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"You should not forget as you deliberate this ... exhibit 205," Martinez said as he showed the jury a photo of Alexander's body.

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Martinez was about to show a photo of Alexander's body when the defense objected. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

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"They can't forget what happened on June 4, 2008 ... they can't forget that he suffered extreme emotional distress ... and it was cruel," Martinez said of Alexander's family.

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"Travis Alexander will be forever young," Martinez said.

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"We are asking you to find that Jodi's life is worth saving," Willmott said.

The defense has finished their closing.

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"Jodi took Travis away. She took him away from his family and she took him away from this world, but two wrongs do not make a right ... You have a choice," Willmott said.

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Willmott is talking about Arias alleged personality disorder.

"It is not an excuse, but it is a reason that you can find ... to call for life in prison," she said. "It is another reason that you have to be merciful.

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Willmott said Arias and Alexander should have sought help for their relationship.

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"She will be haunted by what she did ... she is haunted," Willmott said.

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"She could never even imagine doing something so vile," Willmott said of the murder.

"She lied to herself, she lied to the detective, she lied to the media and she lied to Travis' family," Willmott said.

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