Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court on Wednesday to officially be sentenced to death.

By SI Wire
June 24, 2015

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death on Wednesday for the April 2013 bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 others.

All twelve members of a federal jury condemned Tsarnaev to death on May 14, and U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. officially handed down the sentence on Wednesday. 

“I sentence you to penalty of death by execution,” O'Toole said.

Tsarnaev did not testify during the trial. He chose to address the court on Wednesday. 

“I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and most gracious, this month of Ramadan, month of mercy. To ask for forgiveness and express gratitude to Allah and his creation,” Tsarnaev opened. “A month when hearts change. A month of many blessings.”

“I'd like to now apologize to the victims and the survivors,” Tsarnaev said. “Immediately after the bombing that I am guilty of, I learned some of the victims, their names, their face, their ages...I was listening as all these people testified...I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering I have caused, and for the terrible damage I have done​.”

“I have done irreparable damage,” Tsarnaev said in closing. “I pray for Allah to bestow mercy upon those I killed and their family. I ask Allah to have mercy upon everyone here today, on me, my brother and my family. Thank you.”

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. Police officer Sean Collier 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.

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, when Louis Jones Jr., a Gulf War veteran, was executed for a 1995 murder. The Department of Justice, however, has halted all federal executions while it reviews federal death penalty protocol.

More than 20 survivors and family members of the bombing victims provided statements for the death penalty hearing. 

Family members and friends of victims were present and addressed Tsarnaev during the sentencing. The family of bombing victim Martin Richard preferred a life sentence for Tsarnaev during the trial phase. 

“He chose to do nothing, to prevent all of this from happening,” Bill Richard said. “He chose hate. He chose destruction. He chose death. We choose love. We choose kindness. We choose peace. This is our response to hate. This is what makes us different from him.”

Tsarnaev will be moved to a federal facility in Terre Haute, Ind., where he will be the youngest inmate waiting to be put to death.

- Christopher Chavez and Scooby Axson

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