New Poll Shows 58% Oppose Death Penalty for Tsarnaev

Only 32.8 percent of those surveyed said they think he should be put to death

A Suffolk University poll released Wednesday morning shows that 58.4 percent of Massachusetts voters surveyed believe Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Only 32.8 percent believe that Tsarnaev should receive the death penalty, while 8.8 percent said they were undecided.

However, when asked if they would cast the deciding vote to sentence Tsarnaev to death if they were sitting in the jury box and their vote was the difference in the sentencing, a majority said yes.

Forty-seven percent said they would cast the deciding vote to sentence the marathon bomber to death, while 44.8 percent said they still wouldn't. Another 8.2 percent were undecided.

The poll of 500 registered voters, conducted from April 16 to 21, was released on the second day of testimony in the penalty phase of Tsarnaev's trial, which will determine whether or not he will be put to death.

Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded in the bombing, carried out by Tsarnaev and his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan, to punish the U.S. for its wars in Muslim countries.

Whether Tsarnaev lives or dies is solely up to a jury of 12 men and women. Necn Legal Editor Randy Chapman says the magnitude of Tsarnaev's crimes could be a deciding factor.

"A lot of people feel that if you are going to oppose the death penalty this is the kind of case you would do it so it really tests the resolve of people that oppose the death penalty," he explained.

The family of 8-year-old Martin Richard who was killed in the bombing publicly pleaded with the department of justice to take the death penalty off the table and spare them the years of potential appeals. Other victims have come forward asking the same.

But Chapman said the prosecution will likely continue to push for the death penalty.

"It's quite clear that the government is going forward on this, this is a decision that was made on the highest levels of the Justice Department, the Attorney General and presumably the President were involved in deciding whether to go forward so no matter how strong or sincere the victims and the victims family members may be in not wanting him to be given the death penalty, the government is still determined to go forward and the jury will decide.

In order to choose death, all jurors have to agree. If it's not unanimous, he gets life in prison instead. The judge has no say in what happens. He is simply here to guide the process and offer legal guidance for the jurors.

[CLICK HERE to see the full poll results.]

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