Jodi Arias Jury Begins Deliberation on Sentence; Arias Attorney Tells Jury to "Find Mercy"

Jury members in the Jodi Arias trial have begun deliberating whether to sentence the cold-blooded killer to execution.

The jury was dismissed just after 3 p.m. to begin their decision-making. With nearly five months of their lives invested in this trial, jury members probably can't wait to finish up. It's possible their decision could be reached and announced this afternoon. The same jury took only a bit more than an hour last week to decide that Arias deserved the death penalty.

Arias' appeal to the jury to spare her life probably didn't stir any great sympathy for this throat-slasher. (See our article from earlier today with quotes from her statement.) She didn't sob, didn't 'fess up to the fact that she planned the killing days, at the minimum, before she carried it out. She admitted to another lie, essentially, by reversing earlier statements about wanting the death penalty.

Indeed, her statement might have had the opposite effect: The jury may be even more likely to vote for a death sentence, now that they know she still's covering up what really happened and considers herself a victim of domestic violence.

See also - Jodi Arias Asks Jury to Spare Her Life So Her Family Isn't Hurt; No Apology to Victim's Family, No Tears

- Jodi Arias Could Be Executed in Just Four Years -- if Her Death Wish Isn't Another Lie

Following a half-hour or so of prosecutor Juan Martinez explaining why the jury should make the "hard" decision and vote to kill Arias, attorney Jennifer Willmott took her turn to make the last-ditch argument.

"The question is now: Do you kill her," Willmott began.

As Arias watched without much expression, her mom, dad and sister behind her in the galley, Willmott told jury members they should consider Arias' young age, lack of criminal history and artistic talent when deciding whether to let her live.

"She can provide some type of value to this world," Willmott said.

Arias did an "awful, awful thing," she said, reminding the jury that they convicted Arias for first-degree murder.

"Do you kill her for the one act that she did -- the one, horrible act? Or can you see that there is reason to let her live? Can you see that there is still value in her life?" Willmott went on. "We are asking you to find mercy. Asking you to give her life in prison."

The same sentiment was expressed today by Jodi Arias in her statement when she admitted that killing Alexander was the worst thing she'd ever done in her life.

It was just that one thing, they argue -- it's not like she stabs, shoots and slashes people every day.

But really, once is enough.

We'll let you know when the jury comes back with the news.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.