Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced to Death
A federal jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death today for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured hundreds more.
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for more than 14 hours to reach its decision following his conviction last month on all 30 charges against him.
Federal prosecutors portrayed Tsarnaev as an unrepentant jihadist who “sought to kill innocent Americans in retaliation for the deaths of innocent Muslims in American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” The New York Times reports. The portrayal was ultimately successful in Massachusetts, which has no death penalty for state crimes and where polls showed that residents favored sentencing Tsarnaev to life in prison.
Following the announcement of the verdict this afternoon, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released a statement calling the sentence a fitting punishment.
“We know all too well that no verdict can heal the souls of those who lost loved ones, nor the minds and bodies of those who suffered life-changing injuries from this cowardly attack,” she said. “But 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.”
Tsarnaev’s sentence marks the first time a federal jury has sentenced a terrorist to death following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and at 21, he is now the youngest person on death row in the United States.
An appeal of the sentence is “all but inevitable,” the Times reports, and the process will take years if not decades. “Of the 80 federal defendants sentenced to death since 1988, only three, including Timothy J. McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, have been executed,” according to the Times. All others either had their sentences vacated, the defendants died, or they committed suicide.