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In U-turn, US murderer Jodi Arias begs for life

Jodi Arias, the US woman found guilty of stabbing and shooting to death her boyfriend in 2008, pleaded with a jury Tuesday to spare her life after she was convicted in the high-profile murder case.

The 32-year-old, who had previously said she would prefer a death sentence to life in prison, listed the good things she could achieve behind bars, while admitting the murder was "the worst mistake of my life."

"I've made many public statements that I would prefer the death penalty to life in prison .. To me life in prison was the most unappealing outcome I could possibly think of. I thought I'd rather die ...

"But as I stand here now I can't in good conscience ask you to sentence me to death .. asking for death is tantamount to suicide," she told the jury in Phoenix, Arizona.

Arias had been on trial since January accused of murdering Travis Alexander, 30, in June 2008 in a frenzied attack in which he was stabbed 27 times, shot in the head and had his throat slit.

She claimed she was acting in self-defense, but a jury found her guilty of premeditated murder two weeks ago, and then decided last week that she could face the death penalty because she had been "especially cruel" to the victim.

On Tuesday, Arias appealed to the jurors, listing the good things she could achieve in prison -- including donating her hair to cancer charities for chemotherapy patients, promoting recycling or starting a book club.

Standing before them in court, she recounted her own life, showing pictures of herself as a toddler, growing up and with former boyfriends in California, before she met Alexander.

"I loved Travis, and I looked up to him. At one point he was the world to me. This is the worst mistake of my life. It's the worst thing I've ever done," she said, fighting back tears.

"Before that day I wouldn't even want to harm a spider. To this day I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence. But I know that I was, and for that I'll be sorry for the rest of my life, probably longer.

"I was horrified by what I'd done and I'm horrified still."

Whether sentenced to death or life, she will spend the rest of her days in prison, she said -- adding that if the length of time remaining to her is "shortened, the people who will hurt the most are my family."

"I'm asking you to please, please, don't do that to them."

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