(CNN) — The jury in the Jodi Arias trial has one decision left to make: Should she live or die?
Its members will put their heads together again Wednesday to deliberate the question, a day after Arias made an impassioned plea to them to spare her life to lessen her family’s suffering.
Earlier this month, jurors convicted Arias of first-degree murder and found that she was “exceptionally cruel” when she killed Travis Alexander in 2008. She stabbed him 29 times, slit his neck from ear to ear and shot him in the face.
Arias: I want everyone’s pain to stop
On Tuesday, the same jury that found Arias guilty of murder deliberated for about an hour and a half before adjourning for the day. They are scheduled to come back to court and continue weighing her fate Wednesday at 10 a.m. (1 p.m. ET).
Arias pledged to make herself useful to other prisoners and humanity by performing acts of charity from behind bars, if spared. She told jurors Tuesday that she could teach people to read in prison.
She also called the murder of Alexander “the worst mistake” she’d ever made, “the worst thing I’ve ever done.” She couldn’t have imagined herself capable of such a grizzly crime. “But I know that I was,” she said. “And for that I’m going to be sorry for the rest of my life — probably longer.”
She told jurors that she had been a victim of abuse as an adult and as a child. She showed several family photos from holidays and vacations. She claimed she was a gentle person who caught spiders in cups and took them outside rather than kill them. And she showed the jurors several pieces of her artwork.
“I’m not going to become a mother because of my own terrible choices,” she said, adding that she would no longer be able to paint with oil, either.
It was a drastic change in tone from less than two weeks ago, when a tearful Arias, minutes after her murder conviction, told a local television station that she wanted to be sentenced to death.
Explaining her decision not to request the death penalty, Arias said Tuesday that her family — to whom she pointed in the courtroom — gave her the strength to continue living.
Her previous comments about her desire to die were sincere when she expressed them, Arias said.
No one wants to defend Jodi Arias
Death row cell would be like a coffin
“Each time I said that, though I meant it,” she said, “I lacked perspective.”
She noted she could bring “people together in a constructive and positive way” by participating in various programs, including prisoner literacy initiatives; by her “Survivor” T-shirts, which would benefit victims of domestic violence; and by donating her hair so it could be used to make wigs for sick children.
Brother: How much did Travis suffer?
Does Jodi Arias really want to die?
Wearing black and starting about 90 minutes later than scheduled, Arias, 32, said she never wanted the “graphic, mortifying, horrific details (of her and Alexander’s relationship) paraded out into the public arena.”
“It’s never been an intention of mine to malign his name or character,” she said.
Jodi Arias reacts on Wednesday, May 8, after an Arizona jury found her guilty of first-degree murder for killing Travis Alexander in June 2008. The conviction means Arias could face the death penalty. Her trial has taken many turns and revealed a story of sex and violence.
Alexander’s family and friends react after Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder on May 8.
Judge Sherry Stephens receives the jury’s decision on May 8. The jury, which has been in court since January 2, heard closing arguments on Friday, May 3. Jurors deliberated for 15 hours and five minutes.
Arias and Alexander met in 2006 at a business convention in Las Vegas. Alexander’s bloodied body was found in his Mesa, Arizona, home in June 2008, and Arias was arrested in his stabbing death.
Soon after their first meeting, Alexander baptized Arias into the Mormon faith, a ceremony that was followed by anal sex, according to Arias’ testimony.
Arias says that the pair broke up in 2007 and Alexander began seeing other women though they continued to hang out on occasion.
Arias was charged with murder, at first denying the claims and later admitting she killed him in self-defense. Alexander’s body was found with 27 stab wounds in the back and torso, a shot in the head and his throat slit from ear to ear.
Arias takes the witness stand on February 6, 2013.
On February 28, prosecutor Juan Martinez asks Arias about a photograph she took of Alexander in the shower moments before he was killed.
Arias breaks down on February 28 after being asked by Martinez if she was crying when she stabbed Alexander and slit his throat.
Arias puts her arm around defense attorney Jennifer Willmott after being asked to demonstrate how she had her arm around her sister in a photograph that had been admitted into evidence on March 4.
Arias talks to defense attorneys Willmott, left, and Kirk Nurmi during her trial on April 3. Her defense team says she was the victim of a controlling, psychologically abusive relationship.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez makes closing arguments on May 2. Throughout the trial, prosecutors said Arias manipulated people as well as the evidence.
Mitigation specialist Maria DeLaRosa whispers to Arias during closing arguments on May 3. Arias’ defense team denied that she went on a meticulously planned “covert mission” to Arizona to kill her ex-boyfriend and then hide her tracks.
Arias listens to defense attorney Kirk Nurmi make his closing arguments on May 3. Her case has drawn worldwide attention.
Photos: The Jodi Arias trial
There are 61 women on death row in the United States, making up fewer than 2% of the 3,125 inmates sentenced to die, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Here is a look at the women currently on death row. Source: Death Penalty Information Center
Patricia Blackmon was 29 when she killed her 2-year-old adopted daughter in Dothan, Alabama, in May 1999. Blackmon was sentenced on June 7, 2002.
Tierra Capri Gobble was 21 when she murdered her 4-month-old son in Dothan, Alabama, on December 15, 2004. She was sentenced on October 26, 2005.
Shonda Johnson was 28 when she murdered her husband in Jasper, Alabama, on November 30, 1997. She was sentenced on October 22, 1999.
Christie Michelle Scott was 30 when she murdered her 6-year-old son and committed arson in Russellville, Alabama, on September 16, 2008. The jury recommended a life sentence, but the judge sentenced her to death in August 2009.
Wendi Andriano was 30 when she murdered her husband in Mesa, Arizona, on October 8, 2000. She was sentenced on December 22, 2004.
Shawna Forde was 41 when she murdered a 29-year-old man and a 9-year-old girl in Arivaca, Arizona, on May 30, 2009. She was sentenced on February 23, 2011.
A jury convicted Debra Jean Milke of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, child abuse and kidnapping on October 12, 1990, less than a year after her 4-year-old son was found dead. A judge sentenced her to death on January 18, 1991. Those convictions and the related sentence were tossed out by a federal appeals court judge in March. In an earlier version of this gallery, CNN erroneously reported that Milke was still on death row.
Maria del Rosio Alfaro was 18 when she committed burglary, robbery, and murdered a 9-year-old girl in Anaheim, California, on June 15, 1990. She was sentenced on July 14, 1992.
Dora Luz Buenrostro was 34 when she murdered her two daughters, ages 4 and 9, and her 8-year-old son in San Jacinto, California, on October 25 and October 27, 1994. She was sentenced on October 2, 1998.
Socorro Caro was 42 when she murdered her three sons, ages 5, 8, and 11, in Santa Rosa Valley, California, on November 22, 1999. She was sentenced on April 5, 2002.
Celeste Simone Carrington was 30 when she murdered a 34-year-old man during a burglary on January 26, 1992, in San Carlos, California, and a 36-year-old woman during a burglary in Palo Alto, California, on March 11, 1992. She was sentenced to death on November 23, 1994.
Cynthia Lynn Coffman was 24 when she murdered a 20-year-old woman in San Bernardino County, California, on November 7, 1986. She was sentenced to death on August 31, 1989.
Kerry Lyn Dalton was 28 when she murdered a 23-year-old woman in Live Oak Springs, California, on June 26, 1988. She was sentenced to death on May 23, 1995.
Susan Eubanks was 33 when she murdered her four sons, ages 4, 6, 7, and 14, in San Marcos, California, on October 27, 1996. She was sentenced to death on October 13, 1999.
Veronica Gonzalez was 26 when she murdered her 4-year-old niece in San Diego on July 21, 1995. She was sentenced to death on July 20, 1998.
Valerie Dee Martin was 35 when she murdered her boyfriend in Lancaster, California, on March 28, 2003. She was sentenced to death on March 26, 2010.
Maureen McDermott was 37 when she murdered a 27-year-old man in Van Nuys, California, on April 28, 1985. She was sentenced to death on June 8, 1990.
Michelle Lyn Michaud was 38 when she kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered a 22-year-old woman in Pleasanton, California, on December 2, 1997. She was sentenced on September 25, 2002.
Tanya Jaime Nelson was 46 when she murdered two women, ages 23 and 52, in Westminster, California, on April 21, 2005. She was sentenced to death on March 26, 2010.
Sandi Dawn Nieves was 34 when she murdered her four daughters, ages 5, 7, 11, and 12, in Saugus, California, on June 30, 1998. She was sentenced on October 6, 2000.
Angelina Rodriguez was 32 when she murdered her husband in Montebello, California, on September 9, 2000. She was sentenced on January 12, 2004.
Brooke Marie Rottiers was 26 when she murdered two men, ages 22 and 28, in Corona, California, on August 28, 2006. She was sentenced on October 22, 2010.
Mary Ellen Samuels was 40 when she hired someone to kill her husband in Northridge, California, and then murdered her husband’s killer in Ventura County, California on June 27, 1989. She was sentenced on September 16, 1994.
Cathy Lynn Sarinana was 30 when she murdered her 13-year-old nephew in Riverside, California, on December 25, 2005. She was sentenced on June 26, 2009.
Janeen Marie Snyder was 21 when she murdered a 16-year-old girl in Rubidoux, California, on April 17, 2001. She was sentenced on September 7, 2006.
Catherine Thompson was 42 when she hired someone to kill her husband in Westwood, California, on June 14, 1990. She was sentenced on June 10, 1993.
Manling Tsang Williams was 28 when she murdered her husband and two sons, ages 3 and 7, in Rowland Heights, California, on August 7, 2007. She was sentenced on January 18, 2012.
Lisa Montgomery was 36 when she murdered a 23-year-old woman in Skidmore, Missouri, on July 16, 2004. She was sentenced on April 4, 2008. She is being held in federal prison.
Margaret Allen was 39 when she murdered a 39-year-old woman in Titusville, Florida, on February 8, 2005. She was sentenced on May 19, 2011.
Tina Lasonya Brown was 39 when she murdered a 19-year-old woman in West Pensacola, Florida, on March 24, 2010. She was sentenced on September 28, 2012.
Ana Marie Cardona was 39 when she murdered her 3-year-old son in Miami on November 2, 1990. She was sentenced in 1992, the sentence was reversed 10 years later. She was resentenced on June 10, 2011.
Emilia Lily Carr was 24 when she murdered a 26-year-old woman in Boardman, Florida, on February 14, 2009. She was sentenced on February 22, 2011.
Tiffany Ann Cole was 23 when she murdered a 61-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman in Jacksonville, Florida, on July 8, 2005. She was sentenced on March 6, 2008.
Kelly Renee Gissendaner was 28 when she murdered her husband in Gwinnett County, Georgia, on February 7, 1997. She was sentenced on November 20, 1998.
Robin Lee Row was 35 when she murdered her husband and her two children in Boise, Idaho, on February 10, 1992. She was sentenced on December 16, 1993.
Debra Denise Brown was 21 when she murdered a 7-year-old girl in Gary, Indiana, on June 18,1984. She was sentenced on June 23, 1986. She is serving a life sentence in Ohio but is sentenced to death in Indiana.
Virginia Susan Caudill was 37 when she robbed and murdered a 73-year-old woman in Lexington, Kentucky, on March 15, 1998. She was sentenced on March 24, 2000.
Antoinette Frank was 22 when she robbed and murdered a 25-year-old police officer, a 17-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman in New Orleans on March 4, 1994. She was sentenced on September 13, 1995.
Brandy Holmes was 23 when she robbed and murdered a 70-year-old man in Blanchard, Louisiana, on January 1, 2003. She was sentenced on February 21, 2006.
Michelle Byrom was 42 when she hired a killer to murder her husband in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, on June 4, 1999. She was sentenced on November 18, 2000.
Lisa Jo Chamberlin (aka Chamberlain) was 31 when she murdered a 34-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in March 2004. She was sentenced on August 4, 2006.
Patricia JoAnn Jennings was 47 when she murdered her husband in Wilson County, North Carolina, on September 19, 1989. She was sentenced on November 5,1990.
Blanche Kiser Moore was 56 when she murdered her boyfriend in Alamance County, North Carolina, on October 7, 1986. She was sentenced on January 18, 1991.
Carlette Elizabeth Parker was 34 when she murdered an 86-year-old woman in North Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 12, 1998. She was sentenced on April 1, 1999.
Christina S. Walters was 20 when she murdered a 19-year-old woman and a 25-year-old woman in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on August 17, 1998. She was sentenced on July 6, 2000.
Donna Marie Roberts was 58 when she murdered her husband near Warren, Ohio, on December 11, 2001. She was originally sentenced on June 21, 2003. That sentence was reversed on August 2, 2006, and she was resentenced on October 29, 2007.
Brenda E. Andrew was 37 when she murdered her husband in Oklahoma City on November 20, 2001. She was sentenced on September 22, 2004.
Angela Darlene McAnulty was 41 when she murdered her 15-year-old daughter in Eugene, Oregon, on December 9, 2009. She was sentenced on February 24, 2011.
Michelle Sue Tharp was 29 when she murdered her 7-year-old daughter in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, on April 18, 1998. She was sentenced on November 14, 2004.
Shonda Dee Walter was 23 when she murdered an 83-year-old man in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, on March 25, 2003. She was sentenced on April 19, 2005.
Christa Gail Pike was 18 when she murdered a 19-year-old woman in Knoxville, Tennessee, on January 12,1995. She was sentenced on March 29,1996.
Suzanne Margaret Basso was 44 when she murdered her boyfriend In Houston on August 25, 1998. She was sentenced on September 1, 1999.
Kimberly Cargill was 42 when she murdered a 39-year-old woman in Whitehouse, Texas, on June 18, 2010. She was sentenced on May 31, 2012.
Linda Anita Carty was 42 when she kidnapped and murdered a 20-year-old woman and the victim’s infant son in Houston on May 16, 2001. She was sentenced on February 21, 2002.
Lisa Coleman was 28 when she murdered a 9-year-old boy in Arlington, Texas, on July 26, 2004. She was sentenced on July 7, 2006.
Cathy Lynn Henderson was 37 when she murdered a 3-month-old boy she was babysitting near Austin, Texas, on January 21, 1994. She was sentenced on May 25, 1995.
Brittany Marlowe Holberg was 23 when she murdered an 80-year-old man in Amarillo, Texas, on November 13, 1996. She was sentenced on March 27, 1998.
Melissa Elizabeth Lucio was 38 when she murdered her 2-year-old daughter in Harlington, Texas, on February 16, 2007. She was sentenced in August 2008.
Kimberly Lagayle McCarthy was 36 when she murdered a 71-year-old woman in Lancaster, Texas, on July 7, 1997. She was originally sentenced in December 1998. Her sentence was reversed in 2001 and she was again sentenced to death on November 1, 2002.
Darla Lynn Routier was 26 when she murdered her 5-year-old son in Rowlett, Texas, on June 6, 1996. She was sentenced on February 4, 1997.
Erica Yvonne Sheppard was 19 when she murdered a 43-year-old woman in Houston on June 30, 1993. She was sentenced on March 3, 1995.
Photos: Women of death row
Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott argued Tuesday that Arias’ life should be spared.
“We’re not talking about whether or not to convict. We’re talking about whether or not to kill. And so when we talk about that, it matters that she was 27 years old and she had no criminal history,” she said. “It matters that she hadn’t done anything wrong in her life before that.”
Prosecutor Juan Martinez said pointing to Arias’ artwork as evidence that her life should be spared wasn’t a valid defense.
“It’s an entitlement road that they want you to travel when they talk to you about the fact that she’s a good artist,” he said. “It doesn’t mean anything. All it means is, give her special or preferential treatment.”
He argued that jurors should sentence Arias to death.
“You have a duty, and that duty really means that you actually do the honest, right thing, even though it may be difficult,” he said. “And in this case … the only thing you can do based on the mitigating circumstances and their lack of, is to return a verdict of death.”
During the trial, Arias claimed she killed Alexander in self-defense after he attacked her. After the guilty verdict, she told a local television station that she had no interest in life in prison.
“I said years ago that I’d rather get death than life, and that still is true today,” she told Phoenix television station KSAZ. “I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I’d rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
The penalty phase of the trial took a sudden break Monday, when the judge said that proceedings could not continue and that Arias would make the statement to the jury.
The adjournment followed Judge Sherry Stephens’ dismissal of a defense motion for a mistrial and ended a session in which the defense called no witnesses on Arias’ behalf. Also denied was a second request by Arias’ lawyers to withdraw from the case.
Arias, who testified for 18 days during the trial, was not cross-examined after her Tuesday statement, which Stephens said was not under oath.
For Arias to be sentenced to death, the jury’s decision must be unanimous. In the case of a deadlock, a new jury would be chosen for this phase only.
If Arias is given a sentence of death, she would be the fourth woman on death row in the state.
HLN’s Graham Winch and CNN’s Ben Brumfield contributed to this report.