Marathon bomber sentenced to death
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death Friday for his role in bombing the 2013 Boston Marathon.
The jury unanimously decided that the death penalty was appropriate for six of the 17 capital counts he was convicted of, though none of the six were related to the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier.
Instead, those six counts concerned the bomb that Tsarnaev placed in front of The Forum restaurant on Boylston Street, which killed Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard. The jury did not unanimously agree to sentence Tsarnaev to death for his involvement in Krystle Campbell’s death — caused by a bomb placed by his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev closer to the marathon’s finish line — or the fatal shooting of Sean Collier.
The jury spent nearly 15 hours deliberating before reaching their decision. The same jury had convicted Tsarnaev last month on all 30 counts he faced, 17 of which could have carried the death penalty.
Only two jurors thought Tamerlan was the person who shot and killed Collier, which the defense team presented as a mitigating factor — a fact of the case meant to downplay Tsarnaev’s individual culpability — in their attempt to spare their client the death penalty.
Despite the lack of unanimous agreement on the capital counts associated with Collier’s death, Tsarnaev will formally be sentenced to death for the other six counts at a later date that has yet to be announced.
Collier’s family was not among the victims and family members who offered varied reactions to the verdict outside the courthouse. MIT Deputy Chief Jay Perault, however, told the media that he thinks “the closure is important to the MIT community as well as the families.” He added, “I think people have personal feelings on what the sentence is, and that’s up to them.”
The trial began over four months ago, with jury selection starting in January. Jurors heard over 10 weeks of graphic testimony from victims, family members, police officers, and expert witnesses. Although Tsarnaev never testified himself, several of his family members from Russia did.
Tsarnaev showed hardly any emotion in court during the trial and behaved similarly during the 20-minute reading of the verdict. Other than swaying back-and-forth and looking slightly anxious, he appeared indifferent. Even after the death penalty was announced and Tsarnaev was escorted out of the courthouse, he appeared unfazed.
Austin Hess contributed reporting.