- (Photo: Reuters/Charlie Leight)
Jodi Arias took the stand today to address the jury about her possible sentence. She read a prepared statement to the jury.
"I know they're going through hell, and I never meant to cause them so much pain," Arias said of Alexander's family. "Throughout this trial I've avoided looking at Travis' family for a variety of reasons that I won't go into, but I always wondered where his grandmother was."
"Samantha said that she passed away, and that I may have inadvertently induced her passing destroys me. Every time I've had the thought or idea of committing suicide, there's been one thing to stop me, and they're sitting over there (pointed at family). I wrote a lot of them goodbye letters, and in the letters I didn't focus on explanations but how much I loved them," Arias continued.
"I didn't know a lot about prison at that time … I didn't know that if I got life instead of death I could become self-reliant and independent … In prison, there are programs I can start and people I can help," she said.
Arias then displayed photos of herself donating her hair to Locks of Love and then promised to donate to them for the rest of her life. She also promised to help teach women Spanish and "may be able to start classes" and start a recycling program. It is clear at this point that she wants to live and remain in prison.
She maintained that she would be a good candidate and role model in the prison population.
Arias' lawyers petitioned for a mistrial yesterday but were denied by Judge Stephens. They then immediately asked to be recused from the case, citing differences with Arias; they want to fight for her life, while Arias has requested the death penalty. Judge Stephens again denied their request, and the lawyers met with Stephens in her chambers to discuss whether or not Arias would testify on her behalf.
After several moments, Arias' lawyers returned and Judge Stephens announced that she would be speaking Tuesday, May 21, and that court was excused for the rest of the day. It was a very quick turnover, given that Arias was to have several witnesses, including family, an ex-boyfriend, and friend, testify on her behalf.
Unfortunately, due to death threats, Arias' friend requested not to testify and then the defense team revealed that no one else but Arias would speak to the jury. Arias faces the death penalty or the possibility of life in prison without parole. Judge Stephens will make her final ruling after hearing from the jury, which deemed Arias qualified to receive the death penalty.