Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to death for Boston Marathon bombings

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for killing four people and injuring 260 in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for killing four people and injuring 260 in the Boston Marathon bombings. –REUTERS

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death.

Tsarnaev, who was convicted last month of 17 capital charges, was sentenced to death for six of them. Jurors deliberated for about 14 hours over the course of three days. He showed no visible reaction as the sentence was read aloud.

With the death sentence, Tsarnaev’s case will automatically be appealed to a higher federal court. That likely begins a series of appeals that could take years to resolve.

The federal government currently has a moratorium on all executions, and has not executed a death row inmate since 2003. Timothy McVeigh, convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing, was executed in 2001 after spending four years on federal death row.

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Prosecutors presented “aggravating’’ factors — including the vulnerability and age of the victims, the crime’s premeditation, and Tsarnaev’s lack of remorse — that they said should result Tsarnaev receiving the death penalty. Survivors of the bombing and family and friends of victims gave dramatic testimony about all that they had lost in the destruction.

“No remorse. No apology,’’ prosecutor Steven Mellin said in closing statements, referring to the note Tsarnaev wrote while hiding in a boat after the bombings.

“He had already decided that killing innocents was justified. In fact, killing innocents was the whole point.’’

Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing.

In response, defense attorneys argued several “mitigating’’ factors, including Tsarnaev’s young age (he was 19 at the time of the bombings) and his lack of a criminal record. Attorneys particularly concentrated on the domineering influence of Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan, who died after a shootout with police and after being hit by a speeding SUV driven by his younger brother. They also highlighted praise from Tsarnaev’s teachers, friends, and extended family, who described him as a thoughtful and sweet young man.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not the worst of the worst. And that’s who the death penalty is reserved for,’’ attorney Judy Clarke said in closing arguments. “Dzhokhar has potential for redemption.’’

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The jury’s decision ends a trial more than two years in the making. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan killed four people and injured more than 260 in the April 2013 bombing and its aftermath.

“I hope this verdict provides a small amount of closure to the survivors, families, and all impacted by the violent and tragic events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon,’’ Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said.

Tsarnaev was charged with 30 counts related to the bombing of the Boston Marathon, 17 of which carried the possibility of the death penalty. He was found responsible of the murder of Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell, and Sean Collier.

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