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Boston Bomber Sentenced to Death

May 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Jennie Matthew, Agence France Presse

21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will receive the death penalty.

Boston (AFP) – A US jury on Friday sentenced 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, one of the worst assaults on American soil since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

It took the jury more than 14 hours to choose death on six of 17 capital counts for the Muslim former university student of Chechen descent who came to the United States as a child and became a citizen.

Their only other option was life without the possibility of release in America's toughest “super-max” prison in Colorado, which some have dubbed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”

The same 12-member panel of jurors convicted him on April 8 on all 30 counts relating to the April 15, 2013 bombings, the murder of a police officer, a carjacking and a shootout while on the run.

Three people were killed and 264 others wounded, including 17 who lost limbs, in the twin blasts near the finish line at the northeastern city's popular marathon.

Tsarnaev went on the run and was arrested four days later, hiding and injured in a grounded boat on which he had scrawled a bloody message defending the attacks as a means to avenge US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He showed no emotion as he stood, flanked by female lawyers and wearing a dark blazer with his hands clasped before him as the court clerk declared the death penalty verdict before a hushed room.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the sentence a “fitting punishment.”


- Death penalty opposition -

The verdict in the federal case came despite widespread local opposition to capital punishment in Massachusetts, a largely Democratic state that abolished the death penalty in 1947.

Prominent survivors, including the parents of the youngest victim Martin Richard, had also opposed the death penalty on the grounds that years of prospective appeals would dredge up their agony.

The Richard parents were among other victims and survivors who crammed into the courtroom on Friday to hear the verdict.

The jury's 24-page verdict form showed that few on the panel bought into the defense argument that Tsarnaev was …read more


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