US Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Dzokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of the fatal bomb attack targeting last year's Boston Marathon.
Prosecutors will argue for the death penalty in the trial of Dzokhar Tsarnaev, according to the head of the US Justice Department.
"After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant's counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter," Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday. "The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision."
Three people were killed and 264 wounded in the April 15, 2013, bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The 20-year-old Tsarnaev, a US citizen born in Chechnya, is accused of planting two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line along with his elder brother, Tamerlan. He has pleaded not guilty, and no trial date has yet been set.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a police chase in the days after the bombing, apparently run over by the car in which Dzokhar was trying to escape. Dzokhar was captured on April 20 after sustaining severe injuries in a shootout. The two brothers are also accused of killing a police officer during their period on the run.
The US news agency the Associated Press reported that Dzokhar Tsarnaev faced a total of 30 charges, 17 of which could theoretically carry the death penalty.
Holder, who has said that he is not a proponent of the death penalty because he doubts its efficacy as a deterrent, has authorized prosecutors to seek the death sentence in 36 cases, according to the Justice Department.
msh/mkg (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)