"This is the worst mistake of my life. It's the worst thing I've ever done," Arias said of killing her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. "To this day, I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence."
Arias acknowledged she had made multiple public statements hoping for the death penalty rather than life in prison, but when she made those statements she had "lost perspective." She said her death would cause her family pain.
"I'm asking you, please, please don't do that to them," Arias implored jurors.
"I've already hurt them so badly, along with so many other people. I want everyone's healing to begin, and I want everyone's pain to stop."
Arias told the jury that convicted her she could contribute to society if they spared her life, NBC News reported.
"I didn't know then that if I got life instead of death, I could become employed and self-reliant," Arias said, telling the jury she wanted to teach Spanish and American Sign Language to her fellow inmates and continue donating her hair to the Locks of Love charity.
"Along the lines of literacy, I'd like to start a book club or a reading group, something that brings people together in a positive and constructive way," she said.
Arias' attorney, Jennifer Willmott, said the death penalty should not be applied because Arias was abused by Alexander and because she had no criminal record.
Alexander's body was found June 4, 2008, in the shower of his home with 27 stab wounds, his throat slashed and his face shot.