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Parents Of Child Killed In Boston Bombings Ask To Drop Death Sentence

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Parents Of Child Killed In Boston Bombings Ask To Drop Death Sentence


New York (AFP) — The parents of an eight-year-old boy killed in the Boston Marathon attacks have asked prosecutors to take the death penalty off the table for convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in a letter published Friday.

Bill and Denise Richard said instead they want to see Tsarnaev, 21, sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

A jury unanimously convicted Tsarnaev of carrying out the worst attack in the United States since the 9/11 hijackings and is set to deliver his sentence Tuesday.

The Muslim immigrant of Chechen descent, who became a US citizen in 2012, faces either life in prison or the death penalty for the April 15, 2013 attack.

But the parents of Martin Richard appealed to the Justice Department not to seek capital punishment.

“To end the anguish, drop the death penalty,” the Richards wrote in an emotional letter published in the Boston Globe.

They referred to the misery the attack caused their family, including injuring their daughter whose leg was amputated after the bombings.

“The defendant murdered our eight-year-old son, maimed our seven-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul,” the parents wrote.

“We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives.”

They also asked that Tsarnaev waive his right to appeal so they can try to move on.

“We hope our two remaining children do not have to grow up with the lingering, painful reminder of what the defendant took from them, which years of appeals would undoubtedly bring.”

At the trial, the boy’s blood-stained clothing was shown to jurors, some of whom were unable to hold back tears. The boy suffered a massive wound to the abdomen, along with burns.

His parents recalled with anguish the decision they had to make to take their daughter to the hospital, saying they knew their son would not survive.

Federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz said she has frequently spoken to victims’ families but could not comment on the case.

“I care deeply about their views and the views of the other victims and survivors,” she said.

“As the case moves forward we will continue to do all we can to protect and vindicate those injured and those who have passed away.”

Photo: This handout photo released March 30, 2015 by the US Department of Justice/US Attorney’s Office – District of Massachusetts, presented to jurors in the Boston Marathon bombing trial shows a view of the crowd, including members of the Richards family.



  1. 2ThinkN_Do2 April 18, 2015

    What the government needs to do, is put an End to ENDless appeals. There has been a trial, they are guilty beyond doubt; death penalty imposed by jury, death penalty applied within 30 days. END of story. Enough of all this inhumane crying of the methods used. They injured and or killed people, be done with them. If they suffer for an hour, it is less than the families who lost some one will. If someone is going to be imprisoned for life rather than be given death penalty, then they should be made to live as if they were put to death. No modern perks of life, no contact with family members or anyone outside prison walls. Remember they were spared life, but they do not deserve to enjoy it for a moment, do they? Religious arguments do not bear any weight here, everyone in society is not religious and even then, all do not believe that the death penalty is wrong. Too, religion should not be interfering with judgements made by the people of the people. IN a nation where we are constantly crying for more tax $$’s because budgets are failing, we cannot afford the $billions spent on imprisoning those who cannot learn to live within the boundaries laid down by humanity. As populations keep growing, there are going to be more and more people being sent to prison and then being released due to lack of space. Do you really think sitting in cage makes you love humanity more than before you thought it was okay to take a life or abuse someone physically?

    1. Allan Richardson April 18, 2015

      What if, in some other cases (obviously not this one), the death penalty is imposed quickly, and afterward it turns out that the system either made a mistake, or the system was deliberately manipulated to produce that outcome (i.e. murder by courtroom)? The death penalty cannot be recalled once it is carried out. There have been hundreds of news stories of innocent people convicted of a capital crime, then found innocent years later. How many would have been found innocent AFTER their execution, if the law provided a means to investigate it? What should happen to lying prosecutors and corrupt judges if the non-criminal’s family proves he was innocent? Wouldn’t THAT be a case of capital murder, at least morally? Should those who caused the death of an innocent person by their own corrupt actions ALSO be put to death? Why NOT?

      The REASON for the “endless appeals” is that the rules have to be the SAME, whether for the innocent person convicted by unreliable eyewitnesses, or the terrorist who openly boasts about his crime. If we put this man to death quickly, the rules would require that we do this to those who are WRONGFULLY convicted, before there is time to correct a mistake.

      By the way, a billion people on Earth recently celebrated a holy day in honor of an innocent man wrongfully executed. But he is the only one whose sentence was commuted SUCCESSFULLY after his death, by a higher authority; the others who suffered wrongful execution are STILL DEAD. This includes a 14 year old boy executed for a crime he did not commit at the age of 12, in a Southern state in the 1940s.

      1. 2ThinkN_Do2 April 18, 2015

        2nd sentence: “guilty beyond doubt” and: “Religious arguments do not bear any weight here, everyone in society is not religious and even then, all do not believe that the death penalty is wrong.” But thanks for your thoughts : )

        1. Allan Richardson April 19, 2015

          Question: if (again I am NOT talking about this particular case in which the defendant brags about his crime) somehow an innocent person is maliciously prosecuted because (a) he belongs to a group the police consider the “usual suspects” and/or (b) the police and prosecutors want to solve the case “quickly” rather than investigate further and/or (c) the actual killer who “set up” the defendant has political connections, and if the justice system short circuited proper procedures, leading to the ACTUAL execution of an innocent person, would the prosecutor/judge/governor who carried out that execution be guilty of murder “beyond doubt?” Would that justify the prosecutor/judge/governor being executed for that murder?

          As for the religious reference, it was only to point out that most of the people in this country who call the loudest for death DO claim to worship a man who was unjustly executed.

          1. 2ThinkN_Do2 April 19, 2015

            I am talking about this case and there are many cases where there is No ? regarding the guilt of the party; yet they are allowed to be housed by our tax $$’s and good money is thrown down the toilet. Honestly, if any person was found to have set-up someone for a crime, where the death penalty was imposed and carried out; yes, they should be guilty of murder. I don’t care if it’s the President of the USA.

    2. charleo1 April 19, 2015

      Not so much what the government needs to do. As what we the People of whom the majority approve of the death penalty, need to do. Is to first acknowledge the fallibility of humans, and thus any system we create, is the reason there is a long, expensive appeals process in death penalty cases in the first place. And, we also need to stop kidding ourselves in describing the process as, “endless. ” as it is not. As the vast majority of condemned inmate’s death sentences are carried out. Excluding those of course, who have had their death sentences overturned, and have beed completely exonerated, due to that very lengthy, drawn out, complicated, and expensive, time consuming, appeals regimen, many like to criticize. So we as a People, besides recognizing our own fallibilities. Need to be less hubris in our certainties, in order to embrace a fact that is on glaring display each and every time a wrongly convicted, innocent person slated for killing by the State, is set free. And then, not to characterize the restoration of that person’s freedom as proof our fallible system always works. But rather see the obvious, and evident. That mistakes are not only possible, but happen. And admit, that once the ultimate punishment is carried out. Then, neither we the People, nor the State we empower to seek justice, can ever achieve it. Not for the wrongly condemned certainly. And not for the victim. Then, we must finally ask ourselves, if it’s actually justice we seek, or something else? When mistakes are a given, and death is irreversible, does our approval of execution square with the ideals upon which our system is predicated? That a hundred guilty being set free, is wholly preferable to the conviction of a single innocent person losing their freedom. And if for a second we could calm our passions, and our fears, we might also have the courage to ask ourselves. If we are truly respecting freedom. Why do we find ourselves with more of our people incarcerated here, than any other place in the entire World?

  2. Alvin Harrison April 21, 2015

    We have not reached the point where we do not make mistakes, have agendas or follow our emotions….any one of those is enough to worry that might execute erroneously. As a somewhat enlightened human being I recognize my shortcomings…I am thankful to have not had to decide another’s fate…. knowing my own and fellow man’s imperfections.


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