Alleged Boston Marathon bomber faces death penalty

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Emergency crews help the injured after two bombs exploded near the finish line of Boston Marathon. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Emergency crews are helping the injured after two explosions were heard as runners finished the Boston Marathon. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Federal prosecutors announced they will seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and wounded more than 260 others, reports the Associated Press.

Prosecutors say that Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan, planted two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police a few days after the bombing. The younger Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty and no trial date has been set.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement Thursday. Of the 30 charges levied against Tsarnaev, 17 carry the possibility of the death penalty.

"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," Holder said in a statement.

More from the AP:

Massachusetts abolished its state death penalty in 1984, and repeated efforts to reinstate it have failed. Tsarnaev is the third person in the state to be charged under the federal death penalty.

Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, 70 death penalty sentences have been imposed, but only three people have been executed, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 2001. Eight people have been taken off death row by a judicial or executive action, while 59 people remain on death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center

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