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Will Arias Beg For Her Life …... Or Her Death?

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Will Jodi Arias beg for her life Tuesday?
Will Jodi Arias beg for her life Tuesday?

For nearly a week trial watchers have been anxiously waiting for Jodi Arias to take the stand in the penalty phase of her murder trial. Could today finally be the day she asks the jury to spare her life?

Or could the 32-year-old ask jurors to send her to death row?

Immediately after her May 8 conviction in the murder of her ex-boyfriend she told Fox News affiliate KSAZ: "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I'd rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it."

Given yesterday's courtroom theatrics -- a defense motion for a mistrial and an impromptu request to step down from the case -- the defense team's next move is unclear.

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Last week the defense said they planned to call two people to testify on behalf of Arias -- Darryl Brewer, her ex-boyfriend, and Patricia Womack, a childhood friend. However, Womack notified the defense on Sunday that she is no longer willing to testify due to death threats. Her decision is what prompted the defense to file their motion for a mistrial on Monday.

In a surprise move the defense team, obviously upset with the judge, announced they would not be calling any witnesses in the penalty phase.

"This cannot be a modern-day version of stoning or witch trials," defense attorney Kirk Nurmi told the judge.

The defense team's decision not to call any witnesses is somewhat confusing, considering Brewer told AZcentral.com that he was ready and willing to ask the jury to spare Arias' life.

Arias, 32, was convicted in the 2008 slaying of Travis Alexander. 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.

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Last week, the same jury that convicted Arias declared she was eligible for the death penalty. The jury made their decision after less than three hours of deliberation.

In retrospect, Arias' attorneys appeared to put little effort into the aggravation phase. They offered no witnesses and gave only a brief opening statement and closing argument. Is there an underlying strategy being played out or has the defense team thrown up their hands? Like so many other questions surrounding this bizarre case, the answer is not yet known.

With no witnesses being called to speak on her behalf, Arias will likely address the jury herself today. Her words could determine if she receives the death penalty or life in prison.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Read below for minute-by-minute updates from court Tuesday:

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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The Huffington Post is live blogging Tuesday's testimony. Check back here for updates.

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Around the Web

9 Most Shocking Moments of the Jodi Arias Trial - ABC News

Haven't been following the Jodi Arias trial? Read this - CNN.com

Jury finds Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder - U.S. News