Jury sentences Tsarnaev to death


FBI mugshot of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A federal jury sentenced the Boston Marathon bomber to death. (FBI/Zuma Press/TNS)
FBI mugshot of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A federal jury sentenced the Boston Marathon bomber to death. (FBI/Zuma Press/TNS)

BOSTON – Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday was sentenced to death for his role in the 2013 attack, ending the biggest federal terror trial in the United States since the 9/11 attacks nearly 14 years ago.

Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old Russian immigrant who has never spoken publicly about the bombings and did not testify during his two-month trial, stood and showed no emotion as the clerk read the verdict by a jury of seven women and five men. The jurors deliberated for over three days.

The sentence suggests members of the jury were not swayed by defense claims that Tsarnaev was a troubled young man who fell under the dark influence of his older brother, Tamerlan. The defense portrayed Tamerlan as the mastermind of the attack.

The death sentence marks a major accomplishment for the Department of Justice, which fought hard to persuade the jury to impose the ultimate punishment.

For defense attorney Judy Clarke, a nationally recognized advocate for abolishing the death penalty, it is the first time she has lost a client to death row. She has represented some of the most notorious criminal defendants in the United States.

Tsarnaev will be taken to the federal death row chamber at Terre Haute, Ind., where the last federal execution was carried out in 2003.

Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. will formally sentence Tsarnaev at a later date. He is bound by the jury’s decision.

The sentencing hearing will be the last opportunity for Tsarnaev to speak publicly in court to explain his actions or express remorse. He has yet to do so. But his words cannot change the jury’s decision.

Tsarnaev was convicted last month on all 30 charges for the April 2013 bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. He was also convicted of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during the manhunt.

Prosecutors showed extensive videos of the carnage, including scenes of Tsarnaev placing his bomb near a dozen small children. One of them, 8-year-old Martin Richard, was killed. His 6-year-old sister lost a leg.