Criminal Justice

Tsarnaev gets death penalty in Boston Marathon bombings

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev showed no emotion on Friday as a federal jury, after 14 hours of deliberation, made a rare decision to impose the death penalty for the fatal bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013.

The only other sentencing option for the 21-year-old would have been a life term after the same Boston jury found him guilty last month of killing three people and injuring hundreds more in the bombings.

CNN, the New York Times (reg. req.) and Reuters have stories.

The marathon bombing was one of the most high-profile acts of terrorism in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. The death sentence imposed Friday is the first by a federal jury in a terrorism case since Sept. 11, 2001, Kevin McNally told the Times. He serves as director of the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project.

Tsarnaev was also found guilty of killing a police officer as he and his older brother tried to avoid capture in the days after the attack. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in the aftermath of a shootout with authorities, which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped by running over his brother with a stolen car.

Defense counsel portrayed the older brother as the motivating force behind the bombings, which resulted in at least 17 survivors losing at least one leg.

Prosecutors said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev followed al-Qaida’s militant Islamist views and intended the attack to serve as retribution for American military attacks in predominantly Muslim countries.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “Judy Clarke has a knack for keeping her notorious clients off death row” “Death-penalty arguments in Boston Marathon case include photo of Tsarnaev’s obscene gesture” “‘Dead Man Walking’ nun testifies Boston bomber appeared to regret his actions”

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