Character witness in Arias' sentencing hearing backs out

Jodi Arias' childhood friend who'd agreed to speak on her behalf is a no-show at sentencing hearing

POSTED: 10:52 PM PDT May 21, 2013    UPDATED: 03:50 PM PDT May 22, 2013 
jodi_arias_sentencing
PHOENIX, Ariz. -

Jodi Arias isn't the only one changing her mind.  The former Santa Maria resident convicted of killing her boyfriend, is pleading with the jury to spare her life.

Just last week, she told the world she preferred death. 

During Tuesday's sentencing hearing, Arias' only friend to agree to stand up for her was a no show.

The courtroom was packed as Arias spoke to the jury one last time.  Jurors will decide Arias' fate following the 2008 murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

One person was notably absent during Tuesday's sentencing hearing.

Arias' only friend who'd agreed to stand up for her backed out.

Patti Womack attended school with Arias in Orcutt, and the two remained close friends.  Arias even served as a bridesmaid in Womack's wedding.

Womack's first public interview about the Arias case was with News Channel Three in January.

During her final words to the jury, Arias explained why her friend was a no show.

"This is Patti. She was my best friend for years.  She didn't come back because she and her 9-year-old daughter were threatened and harassed if they came back," said Arias.

She told the jury she'd use her time in prison to bring about positive change, including helping recycle trash and raising money for domestic abuse victims.

The prosecution had a different request.

"The only thing that you can do, based on the mitigating circumstances or lack thereof, is to return a verdict of death," said Attorney Juan Martinez.

The jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder earlier this month.