Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced to Death - NECN

Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced to Death

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty of planting two bombs at the finish line

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    A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a "kid" who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother. (Published Friday, May 15, 2015)

    A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a "kid" who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother.

    Tsarnaev, 21, stood with his hands folded, his head slightly bowed, upon learning his fate, decided after 14 hours of deliberations over three days. It was the most closely watched terrorism trial in the U.S. since the Oklahoma City bombing case two decades ago.

    The decision sets the stage for what could be the nation's first execution of a terrorist in the post-9/11 era, though the case is likely to go through years of appeals. The execution would be carried out by lethal injection.

    The 12-member jury had to be unanimous for Tsarnaev to get the death penalty. Otherwise, he would have automatically received a sentence of life in prison without parole.

    WATCH: "Even The Worst of the Worst Deserve A Fair Trial": U.S. Attorney on Tsarnaev

    [NATL] WATCH: "Even The Worst of the Worst Deserve A Fair Trial": U.S. Attorney on Tsarnaev
    Carmen Ortiz, a U.S. Attorney who helped prosecute Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, remarked that the trial showcased an important American ideal of a fair trial for even "the worst of the worst."
    (Published Friday, May 15, 2015)

    Tsarnaev's father, Anzor Tsarnaev, reached by phone by the Associated Press in the Russian region of Dagestan, let out a deep moan upon hearing the news and hung up.

    U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Tsarnaev will pay for his crimes with the death sentence he received.

    Ortiz spoke at a news conference Friday, hours after a jury decided that Tsarnaev would be put to death for the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

    "Today the jury has spoken. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will pay for his crimes with his life," she said.

    Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said the verdict sends a message.

    "The message is we're not going to tolerate terrorism in this country. We're not going to see someone blow up our marathon, blow up our city," he said.

    Attorney: Admission of Involvement Hurt Tsarnaev

    [NECN] Attorney: Admission of Involvement Hurt Tsarnaev
    Former prosecutor Phil Tracy believes that When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense team said he was involved in the Boston Marathon bombings, it ultimately made it easier for jurors to sentence him to death.
    (Published Friday, May 15, 2015)

    After the sentencing, some survivors and family of survivors weighed in on Tsarnaev's fate.

    Melida Arredondo, wife of bombing survivor and hero Carlos Arredondo, said she felt conflicted about the sentencing.

    "This seems like a burden that will drag on," she said.

    Survivor Michael Ward called the sentence justice.

    "He's gonna go to hell, that's where he wanted to go and he's gonna get there quicker," he said.

    Dana Cohen, whose daughter was injured in the explosions on Boylston Street, said he supports the jury's decision.

    WATCH: Gov. Charlie Baker Reacts to Tsarnaev Verdict

    [NATL] WATCH: Gov. Charlie Baker Reacts to Tsarnaev Verdict
    Governor Charlie Baker praised members of the jury for weighing the evidence during a difficult sentencing trial.
    (Published Friday, May 15, 2015)

    "We're going to lead a new normal. Boston is very strong right now," he said.

    Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued a statement thanking the jurors for their service and expressing hope that the verdict can help the city to heal.

    "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," he said. "We will forever remember and honor those who lost their lives and were affected by those senseless acts of violence on our City. Today, more than ever, we know that Boston is a City of hope, strength and resilience, that can overcome any challenge."

    Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker thanked the jury, the judicial system and the families affected by the bombings.

    "I hope this represents some kind of closure for all of those who were affected by this tragedy," he said. "I'm glad at this point that this part of the process is over... but I think it'll be a really long time before this episode and all that came with it ever lands in my rear view mirror. I think the marathon is certainly changed forever.

    "I think Boston showed tremendous resilience and enormous sense of community around this from the minute it happened," Baker added. "If Boston had any problem understanding its identity before this happened, it certainly hasn't after."

    Tsarnaev Sentence Opinions Mixed at Finish Line

    [NECN] Tsarnaev Death Sentence: Opinions Mixed at Finish Line
    Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death Friday for his role in the terrorist attack.
    (Published Friday, May 15, 2015)

    "We have always placed our full confidence in the justice system and the decisions of this jury," said Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association. "And while another chapter may be over, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who lost their lives, the families of the victims, and the survivor community."

    Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded when two pressure-cooker bombs packed with shrapnel exploded near the finish line on April 15, 2013.

    The former college student was convicted last month of all 30 federal charges against him, including use of a weapon of mass destruction and the killing of an MIT police officer during the Tsarnaev brothers' getaway attempt. Seventeen of those charges carried the possibility of the death penalty.

    Tsarnaev's chief lawyer, death penalty specialist Judy Clarke, admitted at the very start of the trial that he participated in the bombings, bluntly telling the jury: "It was him."

    But the defense argued that Dzhokhar was an impressionable 19-year-old who was led astray by his volatile and domineering 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who wanted to punish the U.S. for its wars in Muslim countries.

    Prosecutors portrayed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an equal partner in the attack, saying he was so heartless he planted a bomb on the pavement behind a group of children, killing an 8-year-old boy.

    To drive home their point, prosecutors cited the message he scrawled in the dry-docked boat where he was captured: "Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop." And they opened their case in the penalty phase with a startling photo of him giving the finger to a security camera in his jail cell months after his arrest.

    "This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged," prosecutor Nadine Pellegrin said.

    The jurors also heard grisly and heartbreaking testimony from numerous bombing survivors who described seeing their legs blown off or watching someone next to them die.

    Killed in the bombing were Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who had gone to watch the marathon with his family. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier was shot to death in his cruiser days later. Seventeen people lost legs in the bombings.

    Tamerlan Tsarnaev died days after the bombing when he was shot by police and run over by Dzhokhar during a chaotic getaway attempt.

    In deciding on the death penalty, the jury had to fill out a detailed, 24-page worksheet in which they tallied up the so-called aggravating factors and mitigating factors.

    The possible aggravating factors cited by the prosecution included cruelty of the crime, the killing of a child, the amount of carnage inflicted, and any lack of remorse. The possible mitigating factors included his age, the possible influence of his brother and his turbulent, dysfunctional family.

    The jury agreed with the prosecution on 11 of the 12 aggravating factors they cited, including a lack of remorse. In weighing possible mitigating factors, only three of the 12 jurors found he acted under the influence of his brother.

    Tsarnaev did not take the stand at his trial, and he slouched in his seat through most of the case, a seemingly bored look on his face. In his only flash of emotion during the months-long case, he cried when his Russian aunt took the stand.

    The only evidence of any remorse on his part in the two years since the attack came from the defense's final witness, Sister Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun and staunch death penalty opponent made famous by the movie "Dead Man Walking."

    She quoted Tsarnaev as saying of the bombing victims: "No one deserves to suffer like they did."

    Tsarnaev's lawyers also called teachers, friends and Russian relatives who described him as a sweet and kind boy who cried during "The Lion King." The defense called him a "good kid."

    The defense argued that sparing his life and instead sending him to the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, would be a harsh punishment and would best allow the bombing victims to move on with their lives without having to read about years of death penalty appeals.

    U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. will formally impose the sentence at a later date during a hearing in which bombing victims will be allowed to speak. Tsarnaev will also be given the opportunity to address the court.

    The Tsarnaevs - ethnic Chechens - lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the volatile Dagestan region of Russia, near Chechnya, before moving to the U.S. about a decade before the bombings. They settled in Cambridge, just outside Boston.

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