Boston Marathon Bomber Tsarnaev: “I Am Sorry for the Lives That I've Taken”

Judge sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to die for bombing the 2013 marathon with his brother

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologized and asked for forgiveness as he spoke to a courtroom filled with his victims, their relatives and others on Wednesday shortly before a U.S. District Court judge formally sentenced him to death for the 2013 attack.

"I would like to now apologize to the victims, to the survivors," he said.

He said that immediately after the bombing, for which he was guilty, he learned their names and faces.

"I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, the suffering that I've caused and the damage that I've done, irreparable damage" he said.

He asked for Allah's mercy for those who died and those he injured and for him and his brother.


The courtroom was silent as he spoke. When he finished, the mother of his youngest victim, 8-year-old Martin Richard, sighed deeply and dropped her head. Some survivors wiped away tears.

Defense lawyer Miriam Conrod rubbed Tsarnaev's shoulder as he took his seat.

Judge George O'Toole Jr. formally sentenced him to death after the statement.

"Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you have done," O'Toole told Tsarnaev.

He will be remembered for intentionally murdering and maiming innocent people, the judge said.

In May, a federal jury condemned Tsarnaev to die for bombing the 2013 marathon with his brother, Tamerlan. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when the brothers detonated two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line.

Under the federal death penalty law, O'Toole was required to impose the jury's sentence. Jurors are in courtroom and some wiped away tears during the statements from the victims and families.

"Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you have done," O'Toole told Tsarnaev.

Earlier, victims and relatives confronted Tsarnaev with the pain and suffering he brought.

The father of a woman killed in the Boston Marathon bombing told Tsarnaev that he had failed as a soldier of jihad.

William Campbell, the father of Krystle Campbell, was one of about 25 bombing victims and their relatives describing the attack's effects on their lives at Tsarnaev's formal sentencing in U.S. District Court.

Bill Richard, Martin's father, said Tsarnaev chose hate, destruction and death not love, kindness and peace as he and his wife, Denise, had done.

"On the day he meets his maker, may he understand what he has done and may justice and peace be found," said Richard, whose young daughter, Jane, lost a leg.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb told the court on Wednesday that the brothers' actions were politically motivated but accomplished nothing.

Tsarnaev's defense team had portrayed him as his older brother's pawn. Richard said Tsarnaev did nothing to prevent the attack.

"He could have stopped his brother, he could have changed his mind," Richard said.

Carol Downing's daughters, Nicole Gross and Erika Brannock, were injured while watching her run the marathon. Brannock lost her leg.

Downing, who sobbed as she spoke, said she had been consumed by the "guilt of placing my daughters at the finish line."

Brannock said she doubted that she would ever walk or jog again. She is lucky to be able to stand on one of her legs, she said.

But, she said, "What they did will not break my spirit to accomplish my dreams and goals."

Krystle Campbell's friend, Karen McWatters, who was with her at the marathon, said of Tsarnaev, "He can't possibly have a soul."

He and his brother, Tamerlan, took away the Campbells' angel and an innocence that the city will never regain, she said. She challenged Tsarnaev to tell other would-be terrorists about his remorse, if it is genuine. He ruined many lives with the bombing, but also his own, she told him.

During the statements, Tsarnaev, 21, looked down, rubbed his face and shifted in his seat during the statements.

Also speaking at the hearing was Jennifer Lemmerman, the sister of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer the Tsarnaev brothers killed as they fled. Sean Collier's death left an emptiness that she cannot manage to fill, Lemmerman said. She called Tsarnaev "a coward and a liar" who had not once shown that he cared about a single person other than himself.

Lemmerman and Martin Richard's parents had opposed the death penalty for Tsarnaev.

Tsarnaev was convicted of 30 federal charges for planning and carrying out the terror attack with his older brother. Days after the bombings, in the midst of a massive manhunt, the brothers killed Collier and engaged in a wild gun battle with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after being shot by police and run over by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the younger brother escaped in a stolen car.

Tsarnaev's lawyers admitted he participated in the bombings, but argued that his brother was the driving force behind the attack.

In a note he scrawled in a boat he was found hiding in, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said the attack was meant to retaliate against the U.S. for its actions in Muslim countries.

Jeff Bauman lost both of his legs in the bombing. His aunt, Jennifer Maybury, said she could not erase the sight of his horrific injuries, shown in a photograph of him being rushed away in a wheelchair.

"When will the pain end for him?" she asked.

Liz Norden, whose two sons each lost a leg, cried as she said she had to choose which son to be with during surgery.

"We've been through hell and back," she said.

Meghan Zipin, whose foot was on the finish line when one of the bombs went off, said she would never be who she once was. She had watched Tsarnaev, she said, and he appeared blank, never looking at any of his victims.

"I'm the one who's alive," she said. "He's already dead."

Another runner, Johanna Hantel, was about 10 feet from the first bomb when it exploded. The trial and conviction had not helped her heal, she said. She told Tsarnaev that she felt sorry for him.

The 2013 marathon was the thirteenth time she had run the Boston race, which she said she loved.

"If I have to crawl, I am going to continue to run Boston each year... and there will be four angels cheering me on," she said.

After post-trial memorandums have been filed, Tsarnaev will have 14 days to appeal. He will eventually be transported to a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, but it isn't clear when that will happen.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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