Jodi Arias: Death penalty would be 'revenge,' not justice

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
By Scott Stump

As an Arizona jury resumes deliberating on Wednesday about whether she deserves the death penalty for the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Jodi Arias is now begging for her life after initially saying she preferred to die.

“What I receive will be what I deserve, I believe,’’ she told NBC’s Diana Alvear only hours after she begged the jury to spare her life on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, she was convicted of the brutal murder of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. In the immediate aftermath of the trial, she told a local radio station: "I said years ago that I'd rather get death than life, and that is still true today."

But in her interview with Alvear, which aired on TODAY Wednesday, Arias said she deserves life in prison instead of the death penalty because she still has a lot to contribute to society. She also said she feels betrayed by the jury’s verdict, which her attorneys plan to appeal.

Arias maintains that she was abused by Alexander, and contends that she killed him in self-defense. However, she said she regrets what happened.

“I don’t believe Travis deserved to die,’’ she said. “I do have memory gaps, and I wish that I could take back everything that happened. If I could take it back, I would do that in a second.”

At times during her trial, Arias says, she was suicidal. “I've hurt a lot of people,’’ she said. “And I think I’ll be doing everyone a favor (by committing suicide).”

But whenever her thoughts have turned to suicide, one aspect of her life has brought her back to wanting to live.

“Every time I’ve had the thought or desire to commit suicide, there’s one element that almost always causes me to waver,’’ she said in court. “They’re my family.”

On Tuesday, Arias showed jurors her baby pictures, shared childhood memories, and displayed her artwork as she begged them to spare her the death penalty. She said wants to give back to society by teaching inmates to read and speak Spanish, in addition to selling T-shirts with a “Survivor” logo she designed to raise proceeds for nonprofit organizations that assist victims of domestic violence.

But, Alvear asked her, what about people who feel that the only way for Travis Alexander to get justice is for Arias to get the death penalty?

"That's not justice," Arias replied. "That's revenge."