Jodi Arias Asks Jury to Spare Her Life So Her Family Isn't Hurt; No Apology to Victim's Family, No Tears
Jodi Arias asked the jury in her long-running murder trial to spare her life, contradicting previous statements that she preferred the death penalty to life in prison.
She failed to apologize for killing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in her highly anticipated statement to the jury today.
See below for live blog updates.
Jodi Arias as a child.
image: Court pool camera
Jodi Arias is expected to speak on her behalf today as the jury nears its final decision on her execution for the June 4, 2008, slaying of Travis Alexander.Several of Travis Alexander's family members, Jodi Arias, and attorneys in this long-running murder trial left the courtroom a few moments ago as everyone in the packed galley waits to hear the expected statements by Arias.
A motion for a mistrial was rejected by Maricopa County Judge Sherry Stephens after a short court day on Monday. CNN reported this morning that Arias' attorneys have filed some sort of emergency appeal with the Arizona Court of Appeals, with commentators speculating that they can't do their job because Arias is trying to call the shots.
At this point, no defense witnesses are expected to speak for Arias, leaving her all alone to try to persuade the jury to spare her life. If that's what she wants to do. Arias, of course, reportedly prefers a death sentence to life in prison.
Judicial system procedures would allow Arias to be executed in as little as four years if she fails to appeal following one automatic appeal, an official with the state Attorney General's Office told us last week.
Scroll down for live updates from the courtroom.
10:05 - Travis Alexander's sister Samantha came back in, then left.
10:11 - Juan Martinez sitting in his chair, waiting patiently, as is the packed courtroom of family members and trial watchers.
10:33 - Jodi Arias just walked into the courtroom from the chambers door at the back of the courtroom. She was holding a manila envelope. Then she exited through a side door. The brief appearance caused a slight stir among the court watchers who have been nearly silent as they wait.
10:36 - Jodi Arias' attorneys came in and left. Jennifer Willmott appeared to be collecting her things - does this mean Arias won't speak after all? Well, no news is still good news...
10:39 - Bailiff Valerie Leon putting papers on the attorneys' table.
10:46 - Willmott walks back with her purse. Guess she wasn't leaving after all. Kirk Nurmi's here now. Seems like things could start any second. Arias still huddling with a "mitigation expert," according to tweets on #jodiarias.
10:51 - Arias walks into court. Judge comes in.
I'm sitting on an aisle seat, a few feet away from Arias' father, who has a wooden cane resting on his legs.
The jury just came in.
Judge Stephens says Ms. Womack was supposed to testify, but won't.
Arias may proceed. Here's what she's saying. I'll put exact quotes in quotes, otherwise it's paraphrased:
Says her mom visited her early in the trial. She said I know you're going through hell.
Jodi, brother Carl, and sister Angela.
image: Court pool camera
"I never meant to cause him so much pain."
"Samantha said that Travis was the glue to their family."
In 2007, Travis called her, saying grandmother ill, and his family didn't know what they'd do if she didn't make it.
That she "inadvertently" caused her passing, it "destroys me."
Mentions that her family is sitting "right over there."
10:58 - Says she wanted to "escape." Didn't know a lot about prison. I didn't think it was fair to expect my family to support me for the rest of my life.
She realizes she can have a job and have a life in prison.
(This speech means she lied about wanting the death sentence -- or at least has changed her mind. She's begging for her life.)
"If I'm sentenced to life, I'll live among the general population of women," and share her knowledge . . .
She'll work in the recyling program, she says.
The Arias family.
It's one small thing that could have a far-reaching impact on society.
"I can help other women become literate . . ."
She'll help the other women in prison. Now she's pimping her "survivor" T-shirt.
"Some people may not believe I'm a survivor of domestic violence. They're entitled to their opinion."
(How utterly remorseless!)
11:02 - (Now she's showing pictures from her childhood. We've put some of them in this post...)
Talks about how her little sister, Angela, was born when she was 11.
"I watched Angela come into this world." Doc asked her if she wanted to hold her first.
(Shows a family portrait.
Now a 9th grade picture -- she's got long bangs.
Showing family pictures. Her dad has a hand resting on his leg, seeming very tense. Court watchers are rapt.)
(Shows picture of her ex-boyfriend Matt McCartney.)
"Daryl and I began seeing each other a little over a year after that."
(Shows picture of her and Daryl. Another picture of her and Daryl at Kurk Creek.)
Jodi Arias and her father.
image: Court pool camera
(Two jury members have hands at their faces. Lots of tight lips, closed mouths. One man is chewing gum slowly as he watches the pictures and listen to Arias talk about her family.)
(Arias' voice wavers at times, but she's fairly calm. Going through this quickly, no doubt from nervousness.)
"I won't be at my sister's wedding."
"I won't be her wedding photographer, like we always talked about."
Same true for my brother.
"I have no one to blame but myself."
Says she hasn't met her newborn niece.
"I'm not going to become a mother because of the terrible choices I've made."
Shows illustrations she's drawn.
"From now on, this is how my family is going to spend the holidays with me." (Just her picture as a stand-in for her.)
"With the amount of attention my case received early on, I felt it was necessary to speak out."
"I lied about what I did, and I lied about the nature of my relationship with Travis."
She didn't want to "drag out his skeletons."
She didn't intend to smear Travis' name.
"I love Travis and I looked up to him."
"This is the worst mistake of my life. This is the worst thing I've ever done."
"To this day, I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence. But I was."
"I was horrified at what I've done. And I'm horrified still."
Her family members' hopes were dashed with the guilty verdict.
Mom said she cried, Jodi knows she caused that pain.
Jodi concedes Alexander's family has a much greater loss.
"I've made many public statements that I prefer the death penalty to life in prison."
"As I stand here now, I can't in good conscious ask you to sentence me to death." It's like suicide, she says.
"If it's shortened, the people who it will hurt the most are my family."
Asks the jury not to do that. She's already hurt too many people.
(No apology, no clearing of the "fog.")
11:24 - Jury comes back in. Next up come the closing arguments of the mitigation or penalty phase.
Judge Stephens reads jury instructions for this phase, telling jury they'll determine whether Arias gets death penalty or life in prison.
11:39 - Judge excuses court for lunch recess.
That's it for this blog post. We'll do a separate one if the jury returns its decision today.
Jodi Arias, ninth grade.
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