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Jody Arias no longer wants death penalty, pleads for life in prison

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Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder and initially said she wanted the death penalty on May 9, 2013. (Photo: CNN)

Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder and initially said she wanted the death penalty on May 9, 2013. (Photo: CNN)

( — Jodi Arias told a jury Tuesday that she reconsidered her past statements on preferring the death penalty for her murder conviction, saying she hopes to contribute to society if allowed to live, by starting literacy, recycling and other programs in prison.

According to, Arias addressed the jury in the penalty phase of her trial as the panel considers whether to sentence her to life in prison or execution.

“Life in prison is most appealing outcome I could think of,” she said inside the Phoenix courtroom Tuesday afternoon. “I can’t in good conscious ask you to sentence me to death.”

After five months of trial, Arias told the jury she never meant to cause the family of Travis Alexander – who she killed – so much pain. The same jury convicted her of first-degree murder in Alexander’s death.

Arias’ voice wavered with emotion as she read from a sheet of paper with Alexander’s family looking on in the gallery. She said she didn’t kill herself after Alexander’s death because of her love for her own family.

Arias said during the years she has already spent in prison, she has been asked to teach Spanish or sign language. Arias said she would like to start a prison book club.

Holding up a white t-shirt with the word “survivor” written across it, Arias also said she would sell the clothing and donate all proceeds to victims of domestic abuse.

She said she understands that some people don’t believe she was a victim of domestic abuse, but that she still sees that to be true.

She showed the jury a picture of her best friend and said she didn’t testify on her behalf because she received threats.

Her lawyers have said Arias is the only witness they’ll call to testify on her behalf.

The judge instructed jurors they can consider a handful of factors when deciding what sentence to recommend, including the fact that Arias has no previous criminal record.

The court went into recess after Arias made her plea and will reconvene later in the afternoon. At that time, closing arguments will be given and the jury will start deliberations.

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