Some of the families of the Boston Marathon bombing victims said they want the upcoming Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial to be held in Boston, after his lawyers filed a motion for a change of venue, the Boston Herald reports.
According to the Herald report, Peter J. Brown, uncle of the Norden brothers who were injured in the blasts, said the victims’ families have endured a lot and shouldn’t have to relocate to attend the trial.
“I believe the trial should be held in Boston based on the fact that the crimes were committed here….We’ve had many trials in this state of high publicity, like the Whitey Bulger trial, and that didn’t make a difference. It’s game playing and jockeying of venue. The citizens of this state and Boston have lived and felt this terrorist act. I don’t see any reason why we should not have a chance to partake in the trial.”
Other relatives also expressed a preference for the trial to be held in Boston.
Lillian Campbell, 80, Somerville, grandmother of Krystle Campbell, one of three people killed in the Marathon bombings, said she is ambivalent about where the trial is held, saying she would prefer it to be in Boston but is not opposed to it being moved — “as long as he gets what he deserves.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers filed a motion in US District Court late Wednesday to move the trial to Washington, D.C., saying a survey of potential jurors in various cities showed Boston residents were the ‘‘most prejudiced’’ on a number of critical measures. The survey also looked at potential jurors in Springfield and New York City.
According to the Associated Press:
Among Boston respondents aware of the case, they said, nearly 58 percent ‘‘definitely’’ believed Tsarnaev was guilty and 37 percent believed that if convicted he deserved the death penalty. More than 50 percent of Boston respondents said they or someone they knew had participated in or attended last year’s marathon, at which three people were killed and more than 260 others were injured.
About 37 percent of Washington residents surveyed ‘‘definitely’’ believed Tsarnaev was guilty, 19 percent said he deserved the death penalty and about 12 percent said they or someone they knew had participated in or attended the marathon.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers also pointed to the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh as establishing a precedent in moving a trial due to ‘‘tremendous local impact and galvanizing community reaction.” The McVeigh trial was moved from Oklahoma City to Denver in 1996.
Defense lawyers said the bombings have an even greater impact on the Boston-area community and also noted the “trauma” of the manhunt and the intense media coverage after the bombings.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges and faces the possibility of the death penalty. Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, are accused of planting two bombs near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260 on April 15, 2013. The brothers are also accused of killing MIT Police Officer Sean M. Collier days after the bombing. Tamerlan later died in a confrontation with police in Watertown.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial is expected to begin in November.