The one living brother behind the Boston marathon bombings has been handed the death penalty. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan killed four people and injured hundreds in the April 2013 attacks.
Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death by lethal injection for his role in the 2013 attacks on Friday following a unanimous decision by the 12-member jury.
Jurors said that the defendant had committed 11 of the 12 aggravating factors that supported a sentence of death, including choosing to carry out the attack at a popular event sure to draw large crowds. The only factor they said prosecutors had not proven was that statements made by Tsarnaev suggested to others that acts of violence against the US would be justifiable.
The jury announced its verdict after more than 14 hours over a three-day period. On April 8, the same group of jurors took 11 hours to convict Tsarnaev, 21, on all 30 counts relating to the bombings, including the murder of a police officer, a carjacking and a shootout after he and his co-conspirator and older brother Tamerlan went on the run.
Tamerlan, 26, died in the shootout. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's defense focused on blaming Tamerlan as the mastermind behind the attacks, saying Dzhokhar was a "lost kid" who had been manipulated by his older brother into committing a "heinous crime."
Witnesses inside the courtroom reported that Tsarnaev did not react upon hearing the decision, with his head slightly down and his hands folded in front of him. The Associated Press said that his father had moaned and hung up with their reporter after being told the sentence was death.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch welcomed the decision, saying it was a "fitting punishment for this horrific crime," though it could not "heal the souls of those who lost loed ones, nor the minds and bodies of those who suffered life-changing injuries from this cowardly attack."
The parents of Martin Richard, at 8-years-old the youngest victim of the attacks, had openly opposed the death penalty, saying the years of appeals to follow would prolong their pain.
"Lost kid" or remorseless terrorist?
While they did not deny his involvement, defense attorneys called dozens of character witnesses to attest that the radicalized Tamerlan had led his impressionable brother astray.
Government prosecutors however maintained that Tsarnaev was a remorseless terrorist whose actions deserved capital punishment. In the end the jury sided with the prosecutors; only 3 of the 12 found that he would not have committed the crime without the influence of his brother.
Three people were killed in the April 15, 2013 bombings and another 264 were wounded, 17 of whom lost limbs. After going on the run, the Tsarnaev brothers killed a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stole a car, and led police on a city-wide manhunt that ended in a shootout when Dzhokhar was discovered hiding in a boat in the suburb of Watertown.
es/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)