Was Jodi Arias suicidal? Travis Alexander's ex-GF said she'd prefer death over life imprisonment for his murder
In May 2013, Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander; she went on local news station to claim that she would prefer a death sentence over life imprisonment.
Arias, who testified for 18 days during the trial, became emotional as she was convicted of the 2008 killing of her former boyfriend. Minutes after the verdict was announced, as the rest of the nation debated over her upcoming murder sentence, she appeared for an interview on TV. "I said years ago that I'd rather get death than life, and that still is true today," she told Phoenix television station KSAZ, CNN reported. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I'd rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it."
Arias said she was surprised by the jury's verdict. "It was unexpected, for me, yes, because there was no premeditation on my part," she said. "I can see how things look that way." She said that the worst possible outcome in the case would be a life sentence without parole. "I would much rather die sooner than later," she said.
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After her daughter's post-verdict TV interview, Arias' mother Sandra said she had heard about her sentiments but hadn't watched it; but appeared to be very emotional and concerned about her daughter. While serving time, Sandra Arias said her daughter "can do a lot of good for others."
She also confessed during the trial that she planned on killing herself shortly after stabbing her boyfriend 27 times and shooting him in the head. She tried to kill herself in prison by taking painkillers to thin her blood and then running a razor over her skin, but stopped short of cutting herself.
Her suicidal tendencies had, however, developed much earlier. Her defense attorney showed torn pages of her journal that showed that Arias confessed to having suicidal tendencies during her relationship with Alexander. "I just wish I could die. I wish that suicide was a way out but it is no escape. I wouldn't feel any more pain," she wrote.
Arias' unfulfilled wish
At the time, there were 127 people on death row in Arizona. If Arias was to be given a sentence of death, she would have been the fourth woman on death row in the state. The comments prompted authorities to place Arias on suicide watch in an Arizona jail, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. "Until she is released from suicide protocol by Sheriff's officials no further media interviews of inmate Arias will be permitted," the office said in a statement.
In the days leading up to her sentencing, prosecutors had the chance to present additional evidence to help the jurors decide whether Alexander's death was caused in a cruel manner. If they had decided the same, the trial would have moved to the penalty phase, where jurors would then have decided whether Arias should receive a death sentence. In 2015, Arias was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.