Boston Marathon: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to death penalty - Sports Illustrated

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev receives death sentence

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death for the April 2013 bombing that killed three people and injured 260 others.
Publish date:

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to the death penalty for the April 2013 bombing that killed three people and injured 260 others.

The jury announced its decision Friday after deliberating for more than 14 hours over parts of three days, according to CNN. All 12 jurors had to agree to the death penalty for Tsarnaev to receive it. 

The 21-year-old Tsarnaev was convicted on all 30 charges against him on April 8, including 17 that were capital offenses, in connection with the bombing.

The attack was carried out by Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan. A police officer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was shot days later as the brothers tried to escape from authorities.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was later killed in a shootout with police.

"This is DzhokharTsarnaev - unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged," federal prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini told the jury during the beginning of the penalty phase of the trial.

Prosecutor Steve Mellin told the jury during closing argument that Tsarnaev was "remorse free" and had a sole purpose of trying to inflict as much physical pain as possible on his victims.

"The bombs burned their skin, shattered their bones and ripped their flesh," Mellin said. "The blasts disfigured their bodies, twisted their limbs and punched gaping holes into their legs and torsos."

Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh issued a statement on Friday saying that he hoped the verdict would offer some closure to victims and their families. 

"I hope this verdict provides a small amount of closure to the survivors, families, and all impacted by the violent and tragic events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon. We will forever remember and honor those who lost their lives and were affected by those senseless acts of violence on our City. Today, more than ever, we know that Boston is a City of hope, strength and resilience, that can overcome any challenge."

The state of Massachusetts abolished capital punishment in 1984 and has not executed anyone since 1947. Tsarnaev faced the death penalty because he was convicted of federal crimes. There has not been a federal execution since 2003. 

The Department of Justice, however, has halted all federal executions while it reviews federal death penalty protocol, as The Washington Post points out. There is also the matter of obtaining drugs for a lethal injection, which has become increasingly difficult due the European Union's refusal to export the most popular drugs to the United States. 

Some states have turned to new, untested drug cocktails for their lethal injections, which have caused prisoners to experience prolonged executions that death penalty opponents call inhumane. The complications have led some states to consider bringing back antiquated execution methods such as the gas chamber, electric chair and firing squad.

During the penalty phase, several runners who were injured by the homemade bombs made by the Tsarnaev brothers and placed near the finish line of the race testified about the confusion and horror they experienced after the blast. 

The parents of eight-year-old Martin Richard, who died in the bombing, had said they wanted the death penalty taken off the table.​

- Scooby Axson