A federal jury in Boston has sentenced Dzohkhar Tsarnaev to death. The jury reached its unanimous decision Friday afternoon.
The 21-year-old Tsarnaev was responsible, along with his older brother Tamerlan, for the April 15, 2013, attack on the Boston Marathon. The bombing left three people dead, including an eight-year-old boy, and over 200 injured.
This is the same jury that last month found Tsarnaev guilty of all 30 charges against him, 17 of which were capital charges, meeting the legal requirements for the death penalty. These charges included conspiracy to use, and possession of, a weapon of mass destruction, possession and use of a firearm, and bombing of a public place.
The 12-person jury deliberated for 15 hours, according to MSNBC.
During the sentencing phase of the trial Tsarnaev’s defense attorneys emphasized that Tsarnaev had been in thrall to the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, who died in a standoff with police. Defense attorney David I. Bruck argued that life in the federal “supermax” prison would have been sufficient punishment, and would deny Tsarnaev the publicity he would receive from a protracted appeals process.
During arguments, Bruck showed jurors a picture of the cramped, virtually sunless cell Tsarnaev would spend the rest of his days.
“He goes there and he’s forgotten,” Bruck said. “No more [media] spotlight, like the death penalty brings. His legal case will be over for good, and no martyrdom. Just years and years of punishment, day after day, while he grows up to face the lonely struggle of dealing with what he did.”
Judy Clarke, Tsarnaev’s chief defense attorney, a leading expert on capital punishment, had previously represented, and saved from death row, Theodore Kaczynski, the “Unabomber,” and Zacarias Moussaoui, the self-described “20th hijacker” of the 9/11 attacks.
Tsarnaev would be the first prisoner executed by the U.S. federal government since 2003.
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