Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Arias changes mind, asks jury for life

Convicted killer Jodi Arias asked an Arizona jury to spare her life during the penalty phase of her trial.  The jury is now deliberating.

After her conviction, Arias told a local Fox television news affiliate she preferred a death sentence to life in prison: "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I'd rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it," she said.  She has obviously changed her mind.

Arias was found guilty earlier this month of the murder of Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in 2008. He had been stabbed 27 times, shot in the face and had his throat slashed.

Asking for her life to be spared, Arias told the jury this week that she planned to use her time in prison to bring about positive changes, including donating her hair to be made into wigs for cancer victims, helping establish prison recycling programs and designing T-shirts that would raise money for victims of domestic abuse.

The chances of Arias being executed are slim even if she asked for the death penalty.

While women account for about one in eight of the arrests for murder in the United States, less than 2 percent of death row inmates are women, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Only one woman has ever been executed in Arizona, one-time Alaska cabaret singer Eva Dugan. Convicted of killing a wealthy Tucson chicken farmer, she was hanged and accidentally decapitated in 1930.

There are two women and 122 men currently on death row in the Arizona. Of the more than 1,300 murderers executed nationwide since 1976, only 12, or fewer than one percent, were women.

Arizona, which is among 32 U.S. states that have the death penalty, has executed 11 people since 2010, most recently in December when Richard Stokley was put to death for killing two girls in 1991.

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