Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing, has been sentenced to death by lethal injection by a Massachusetts jury.
The jury of seven women and five men, who last month convicted Mr. Tsarnaev, 21, of all 30 charges against him, 17 of which carry the death penalty, took more than 14 hours to reach their decision.
It is expected that the defense will appeal the sentence, a process that will likely drag on for several years. If the sentence is upheld by all subsequent courts, Tsarnaev will die via lethal injection
The same jury of seven women and five men who condemned Tsarnaev for the crimes was also responsible for deciding his punishment.
Tsarnaev had no reaction as the jury condemned him to die for his actions, media in the courtroom reported.
“We know all too well that no verdict can heal the souls of those who lost loved ones, nor the minds and bodies of those who suffered life-changing injuries from this cowardly attack,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “But the ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime and we hope that the completion of this prosecution will bring some measure of closure to the victims and their families.”
Tsarnaev’s attorneys had argued vociferously against capital punishment.
“If you sentence him to life, this is where he will be,” defense attorney David Bruck said during opening statements in the trial’s penalty phase, referring to a photo of a federal supermax prison in Colorado, which is also the home to several convicted terrorists, NBC News reported.
“Maybe we could’ve shown you this and stopped,” Bruck said. “He’d go here and be forgotten. His legal case would be over for good, and no martyrdom. That might be, that should be, a vote for life.”
The parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest of the four people who died during the Tsarnaev brothers’ multi-day spree of terror, had also supported life in prison over the death penalty. Other victims and their families supported the death penalty, though, NBC News reported.
Bruck told jurors there’s no punishment Tsarnaev can receive that would be equal to the suffering of the victims, according to AP.
“There is no evening the scales,” he said. “There is no point in trying to hurt him as he hurt because it can’t be done.”
Prosecutors argued the brothers were equal players, and that it did not matter when the younger Tsarnaev was radicalized, the Boston Globe reported.
Assistant US Attorney Nadine Pellegrini told jurors that they will probably hear about Tsarnaev’s dysfunctional family life, and they will hear stories of him at school events, dances, and at camp, but she argued, “nothing will explain his cruelty and his indifference.”
“This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, unconcerned, unrepentant, and unchanged,” she said, showing the jury a photo of the convicted bomber in his holding cell on July 10, 2013, the day of his arraignment. He is flipping his middle finger at the camera. “Without remorse, he remains untouched by the grief and the loss that he caused. And without assistance, he remains the unrepentant killer that he is.”
The Boston jury sided with the prosecution despite the fact that the death penalty is not popular in Massachusetts, where a convict has not been executed since 1947. Capital punishment was ruled unconstitutional in the commonwealth in 1984, but that ban isn’t applicable to this case because Tsarnaev was tried in federal court.
A Boston Globe poll published in April showed that less than 20 percent of state residents favored death for Tsarnaev ‒ down from 33 percent in September 2013, five months after the bombings.
Tsarnaev was convicted of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, possession and use of a firearm during a crime of violence, conspiracy to bomb a place of public use, bombing in a place of public use, conspiracy to maliciously destroy property, and malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive, all of which caused death.
He was also found guilty of 11 charges in which the crimes did not result in death. Those counts included carjacking, resulting in serious bodily injury; interference with commerce by threats and violence; possession and use of a firearm during a crime of violence; and use of a weapon of mass destruction.
The firearms and weapons of mass destruction used included a Ruger P95 9mm semiautomatic handgun, three pressure-cooker bombs and three pipe bombs.