Boston divided by bomber death penalty | News | DW | 16.05.2015
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Boston divided by bomber death penalty

Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for his role in the 2013 attacks in which three people died and another 264 were injured. The ruling has received mixed reactions in the US city.

Jurors said on Friday that Tsarnaev had committed 11 of the 12 aggravating factors which supported a sentence of capital punishment, 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 21-year-old was found guilty of all 30 charges relating to the bombings on April 8. Among the counts were the murder of a police officer, a carjacking, and a shootout.

Divided opinon

In Boston, Tsarnaev's death sentence has been met with mixed reactions. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch welcomed the decision saying that "the ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime."

The parents of Martin Richard, at 8-years-old the youngest victim of the attacks, have openly opposed the death penalty, however, saying the years of appeals to follow would prolong their pain.

Similarly, on the streets of Boston, Virtue Grizzle of California told DW that the jury's decision was "too good" for Tsarnaev.

"I think he should live out his life to be 105 - why put him to death now? That's what he is looking for. They should give him a life in prison, let him live the rest of his life to think about what he has done, it was terrible, absolutely unacceptable," the pensioner said.

Twenty-five-year-old Samantha Rosa, was in full support of Tsarnaev's death sentence.

"I don`t want say an eye for an eye because that will make the world blind, but he made his bed and now he has to lie in it … He was old enough to know the consequences of his actions and therefore I'm on the side of the American government putting him to death," she told DW.

Remorseless terrorist or led astray?

Witnesses inside the courtroom on Friday reported that Tsarnaev did not react upon hearing the decision.

Tsarnaev and his elder brother Tamerlan killed three people in the bombings on April 15, 2013. Another 264 people 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 and stole a car. A city-wide manhunt later ended in a shootout during which Tamerlan was killed.

Throughout the trial, Tsarnaev's defense focused on labeling 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."

Ultimately, however, government prosecutors maintained that Tsarnaev was a remorseless terrorist whose actions deserved capital punishment. Only three of the 12 jury members found that he would not have committed the crime without the influence of his brother.

ksb/jr (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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