TAMPA - Immediately after her murder conviction Wednesday, Jodi Arias told a local reporter in Arizona that she would rather be put to death than spend her life in prison.
"I said years ago that I would rather get death than life and that's still true today. I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I'd rather just have my freedom" said Arias.
If the 32-year-old woman makes that statement in front of jurors during the penalty phase of her trial, Attorney John Fitzgibbons believes the jury will listen.
"Generally if a jury hears from somebody they've convicted for first degree murder that they want to die, they'll probably grant that wish," said Fitzgibbons.
The public has been captivated with the case of Jodi Arias, who shot and stabbed her former boyfriend in 2008, then came up with conflicting alibis throughout her lengthy trial.
Since the ban on executions in the U.S. was lifted by the Supreme Court in 1976, only a dozen women have been put to death. None in Arizona, two in Florida including serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
Fitzgibbons believes the publicity surrounding a possible death sentence for Arias is bound to affect the jury in some way.
"Even though they're not on camera, they're well aware of the mob of people outside and the mob of reporters outside."
Fitzgibbons, who represented former teacher Debra Lafave, knows something about how a defendant's appearance can stoke the public's interest in a case.
But Fitzgibbons doesn't believe Jodi Arias's telegenic appearance will sway the jury.
"Maybe at first, but in a long trial like this, her appearance is pretty well neutralized and they're listening to the evidence and evaluating her as a human being, whether they like her or don't like her."
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