On Tuesday, Arias told the jury that during the sentencing phase she had contemplated suicide, saying, “I saw it as taking myself off of life support.” But she said thoughts of her own family kept her from following through.
Similarly, she noted that she had made public statements that she preferred the death penalty to a life sentence. But she said that at the time she had “lost perspective” and now realized the pain her death would cause her family.
“I’m asking you, please, please don’t do that to them,” she told the jurors.
“I’ve already hurt them so badly, along with so many other people. I want everyone’s healing to begin, and I want everyone’s pain to stop.”
Before Arias gave her statement, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens noted that it was not made under oath and not subject to cross-examination.
Arias told jurors that if they gave her a life sentence, she could still make a contribution to society, something she didn’t realize when she thought of suicide.
“I didn’t know then that if I got life instead of death, I could become employed and self-reliant,” Arias said.
She said she also would like to participate in volunteer programs in prison. Arias said that since her arrest she had made three donations of her hair to Locks of Love, a program that provides wigs to cancer patients, and would like to continue donations. She also spoke of starting a recycling program in prison.
She said she also would like to teach Spanish and American Sign Language to other prisoners and to help other women to learn to read.
“Along the lines of literacy, I’d like to start a book club or a reading group, something that brings people together in a positive and constructive way,” she said.