Convicted murderer Jodi Arias’ decision to represent herself at her sentencing has some major implications for the national death penalty debate — namely, because she once said that she wanted to get death.
Arias petitioned Arizona Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens to represent herself at her sentencing next month. Though Stephens warned Arias that she didn’t think the move was in Arias’ best interests, Stephens allowed the request Monday.
Arias was convicted in the 2008 stabbing and shooting murder of her boyfriend Travis Alexander. Arias unsuccessfully claimed self-defense. She begged the jury in May 2013 to spare her life and jurors were unable to reach a sentencing decision. A new jury will convene Sept. 8 to sentence her.
As experts debate whether or not Arias’ decision to represent herself will be a good move for her, in terms of avoiding the death penalty, it’s important to note something: Arias once said that she wanted the death penalty. In a May 8, 2013 interview with local television station Fox 10 immediately after her guilty verdict, Arias said that she wanted to die.
“Well, the worst outcome for me would be natural life. I would much rather die sooner than later,” Arias said. “Longevity runs in my family and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place. I’m pretty healthy. I don’t smoke. And I would probably live a long time. So, that’s not something I’m looking forward to. I said years ago that I’d rather get death than life and that still is true today. I believe death is the ultimate freedom so I’d rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
It’s an interesting dilemma. Personally, I don’t like the death penalty, even though I believe in the eye-for-an-eye doctrine, because I don’t think the government should be killing its own people (who knows what will end up being a “capital offense” a few years from now?)
But in a case where the murderer wants to die, does it make sense for the victim’s supporters to hope for the death penalty, or rather to torture the killer with the lighter sentence that she actually doesn’t want? Or is Arias toying with us as part of some kind of head game that she thinks will be in her best interests? Should her own motives and desires play any part in the sentencing at all?
No answers here.