Boston : Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a college student who along with his brother planted twin bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, was on Saturday sentenced to death for his role in the 2013 attacks, the worst terrorist assault on American soil since September 11. It took the jury 14 hours to reach the decision.
Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 charges in the bombing and its aftermath. The jury decided in favour of death penalty, despite a sharp division in the State on death penalty.
“The ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime and we hope that the completion of this prosecution will bring some measure of closure to the victims and their families,” Attorney General Loretta E Lynch said after the announcement of the death penalty.
In reaching its decision, the jury found that Tsarnaev had shown no remorse for his actions, and it rejected the defence argument that his older brother, Tamerlan, a self-radicalised jihadist, had brainwashed him into joining in the bombings.
Tsarnaev stood, his hands folded in front of him, as the jurors made their way out of the courtroom.
Three people were killed and 264 others wounded in the twin blasts.
It also killed Martin Richard, an eight-year-old boy from Dorchester who was watching the marathon with his family just a few feet from the second bomb.
The death sentence jurors gave Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sets the stage for what could be the United States’ first execution of a terrorist in the post-9/11 era, though the case is likely to go through years of legal appeals, reports AP.
In weighing the arguments for and against death, the jurors decided among other things that Tsarnaev showed a lack of remorse. And they emphatically rejected the defense’s central argument that he was led down the path to terrorism by his big brother. The decision which came just over two years after the April 15, 2013, bombing. “We can breathe again,” said Karen Brassard, who suffered shrapnel wounds on her legs.
A somber-looking Tsarnaev stood with his hands folded, his head slightly bowed, as he learned his fate, sealed after 14 hours of deliberations over three days.
His lawyers left court without comment.
His father, Anzor Tsarnaev, reached by phone in the southern Russian region of Dagestan, let out a deep moan upon hearing the news and hung up. The 12-member federal jury had to be unanimous for Tsarnaev to get the death penalty. Otherwise, the former college student would have automatically received life in prison with no chance of parole.