Jodi Arias gives her first interview since pleading with jurors for her life May 21 at the Maricopa County Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Ariz. (Photo: Rob Schumacher, The Republic)
By Michael Kiefer, The Republic
On the evening after Jodi Arias' fate went to the jury, she seemed to hold out hope her life would be spared.
In a joint jailhouse interview Tuesday with The Arizona Republic, 12 News and NBC's "Today" show, Arias said she doesn't know if the jury will come back with life or death.
"Whatever they come back with I will have to deal with it," she said. "I have no other choice.
"I don't know about the ultimate decision, but my attorneys think it will be quick."
So quick that she has already had her belongings moved out of her cell at the Estrella Jail late Tuesday. And a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said that Arias will likely be transported to the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville immediately after the verdict, whether it is for life or for death.
After nearly five months, the circus at Maricopa County Superior Court came to an end.
Arias, 32, was convicted May 8 of first-degree murder for the brutal 2008 slaying of Travis Alexander.
"It felt like a huge sense of unreality," Arias said about hearing the guilty verdict. "I felt betrayed, actually, by the jury. I was hoping they would see things for what they are. I felt really awful for my family and what they were thinking."
Last week, the jury quickly found that the murder was committed in an especially cruel manner, opening Arias to a possible death sentence.
And then, when a mitigation witness failed to testify, claiming intimidation, and the judge denied a mistrial, Arias' attorneys pulled the plug on the phase of the trial during which mitigating evidence is presented to try to convince the jury to spare the defendant's life.
The lawyers apparently want to take their chances in appeals court.
Arias addressed the jurors Tuesday morning.
She told them that after the conviction, she wanted to die, but had since changed her mind.
"I can't, in good conscience, ask you to sentence me to death because of them," she said, pointing to her family.
She told them that she wanted to teach Spanish and literacy skills from behind bars, market T-shirts to benefit abuse survivors and to donate her hair to charities for cancer survivors.
She showed her artwork to the jury.
Then her attorney asked jurors to sentence her to life in prison. The prosecutor asked them to sentence her to death.
The jury left the courtroom and stayed until about 4 p.m. Jurors are supposed to be back today to resume deliberation, and the feeling around the courthouse is that they will not take long to reach a decision.
Arias, who has always liked media attention, agreed to meet with several media outlets after court, in what may turn out to be the last night she can do so before being whisked away to prison.
Ironically, she has not seen the media storm her case has created. Some of the new women on the jail pod tell her about it, but she has no access to the Internet, no TV other than the Weather Channel, and her only news comes from The Republic.
She would have no way of knowing that just a simple tweet that The Republic was going to conduct an interview with her would unleash literally hundreds of angry responses of why anyone would talk to the woman who some characterize as the most hated person in America.
The public claims she never apologized for the murder; for shooting Alexander, her lover, in the head; for stabbing him nearly 30 times, for slitting his throat and then leaving him dead in the shower of his home.
"I certainly did," Arias said, on the witness stand and in her Tuesday allocution. "I don't know if I could ever adequately apologize. It's just a word. I caused a really huge loss and it caused a lot of pain and I have to live with that. I wish I could take all of that pain."
When she turned 30, she said, she thought about how Alexander was 30 when she killed him. During court Tuesday, prosecutor Juan Martinez reminded the jury of that.
"He's still, today, 30 years old, because of her," Martinez said.
When asked Tuesday night if she ever dreamed of Alexander, she said that shortly after her arrest, while she was still in jail in California, she dreamed that he was there with her, lounging in "the tank." When she asked him what he was doing there, he said, "We all have to do time for what we've done."
She doesn't understand why she didn't remove herself from her relationship with Alexander.
"I want to reach back in time and shake myself," she said. "I feel like there was this hook and I couldn't unhook myself."
She was mortified when the nude photos of her were displayed in court, maybe even more mortified when the prosecution played the videotapes of her police interrogations.