Criminal Justice

Eric Holder says feds will seek death penalty against accused Boston Marathon bomber


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Eric Holder

Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against accused Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, said U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in a written statement released Thursday.

“After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant’s counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter,” said Holder in a written statement statement provided to the media. “The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision.”

The Boston Globe (sub. req.) and Fox News have stories.

Tsarnaev, 20, and his brother, Tamerlan, 26, are both said by law enforcement to have been involved in the April 15 attack on marathoners near the finish line of the famous race. However, the older sibling was killed in a firefight with police several days later. The younger brother escaped but was soon found hiding in a boat in a Watertown back yard and taken into custody.

The blast killed three people and injured some 260 more. A number of victims required limb amputations.

It is unusual for the death penalty to be imposed in federal cases; it has happened only three times since 1988, according to the New York Times (reg. req.) and Slate. He is also represented by top defense attorney Judy Clarke, who has a reputation for helping clients avoid the death penalty.

See also:

ABA Journal: “Judy Clarke has a knack for keeping her notorious clients off death row”

ABAJournal.com: “Law grad G-man helped FBI identify suspects in Boston Marathon bombing”

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