05/08/2013 AT 8:40 PM ET
Minutes after a jury convicted her Wednesday of first-degree murder for killing her lover, Jodi Arias said she’d rather be executed than spend the rest of her life behind bars.
“I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I’d rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it,” Arias, 32, tells FOX10 in Phoenix.
Arias explains that, since she is not a smoker and longevity runs in her family, she could expect many years in prison if she got a life term.
“The worst outcome for me would be natural life,” she says.
The same jurors who delivered the guilty verdict after a little over two days of deliberations return Thursday for testimony to decide whether to recommend execution by lethal injection. The judge has the final say on penalty. Jurors have been instructed to avoid media coverage.
During the interview, Arias offered a message to the victim’s family members, who stared her down each day from the front row of the courtroom, saying she hopes they are now “able to find some semblance of peace and remember their brother the way they wanted to.”
Arias says she killed Alexander in self-defense – he was stabbed 27 times and shot – and was surprised the jury chose the harshest verdict.
“I was fairly confident I wouldn’t get premeditation, because there was no premeditation,” Arias says.