Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - This file photo provided Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, charged with using a weapon of mass destruction in the bombings on April 15, 2013 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. On Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the government to seek the death penalty in the case against Tsarnaev. (AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)
Prosecutors seek death penalty for marathon bombing suspect
Courts » Tsarnaev’s “lack of remorse” cited; over half of charges are death-penalty matters.
First Published Jan 30 2014 06:30 pm • Last Updated Jan 30 2014 07:34 pm

BOSTON • Federal prosecutors Thursday announced they will seek the death penalty against 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombing, accusing him of betraying his adopted country by ruthlessly carrying out a terrorist attack calculated to cause maximum carnage.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to press for Tsarnaev’s execution was widely expected. The twin blasts last April killed three people and wounded more than 260, and over half the 30 federal charges against Tsarnaev — including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill — carry a possible death sentence.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," Holder said in a statement of just two terse and dispassionate sentences that instantly raised the stakes in one of the most wrenching criminal cases Boston has ever seen.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.

In a notice of intent filed in court, federal prosecutors in Boston listed factors they contend justify a sentence of death against Tsarnaev, who moved to the U.S. from Russia about a decade ago.

"Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received asylum from the United States; obtained citizenship and enjoyed the freedoms of a United States citizen; and then betrayed his allegiance to the United States by killing and maiming people in the United States," read the notice filed by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Prosecutors also cited Tsarnaev’s "lack of remorse" and allegations that he killed an MIT police officer as well as an 8-year-old boy, a "particularly vulnerable" victim because of his age. They also said Tsarnaev committed the killings after "substantial planning and premeditation."

In addition, they cited his alleged decision to target the Boston Marathon, "an iconic event that draws large crowds of men, women and children to its final stretch, making it especially susceptible to the act and effects of terrorism."

Tsarnaev’s lawyers had no immediate comment.

In an interview with ABC, Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat, who lives in Russia, said: "How can I feel about this? I feel nothing. I can tell you one thing, that I love my son. I will always feel proud of him. And I keep loving him."


story continues below
story continues below

Prosecutors allege Tsarnaev, then 19, and his 26-year-old brother, ethnic Chechens from Russia, built and planted two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the race to retaliate against the U.S. for its military actions in Muslim countries.

The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police during a getaway attempt days after the bombing. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded but escaped and was later captured hiding in a boat parked in a yard in a Boston suburb.

Authorities said he scrawled inside the boat such things as "The US Government is killing our innocent civilians" and "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."

Killed in the bombings were: Martin Richard, 8, of Boston; Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford; and Lu Lingzi, 23, a Boston University graduate student from China. At least 16 others lost limbs. Tsarnaev is also charged in the slaying of the MIT officer and the carjacking of a motorist during the brothers’ getaway attempt.

Campbell’s grandmother, Lillian Campbell, said she isn’t sure she supports the death penalty but fears Tsarnaev will "end up living like a king" in prison.

"I think it’s the right decision to go after the death penalty," said Marc Fucarile, who lost his right leg above the knee and suffered other severe injuries in the bombing. "It shows people that if you are going to terrorize our country, you are going to pay with your life."

Amato DeLuca, a lawyer for Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, said: "Whatever he’s alleged to have done, presumably he can pay for it with his life. Putting this boy to death doesn’t make any sense to me."

Well before the attorney general’s decision came down, Tsarnaev’s defense team added Judy Clarke, one of the nation’s foremost death penalty specialists. The San Diego lawyer has negotiated plea agreements that saved the lives of such clients as the Unabomber and Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph.

Legal experts have said that court filings suggest the defense may try to save Tsarnaev’s life by arguing that he fell under the evil influence of his older brother.

"I think their focus ... will probably be to characterize it as coercion, intimidation and just his will being overborne by the older brother," said Gerry Leone, a former state and federal prosecutor in Boston who secured a conviction against shoe bomber Richard Reid.

"They’ll, say, talk about how he was a teenager, never been in trouble before, and in many respects, looks like the average United States college student."

In addition to the use of a weapon of mass destruction, the crimes that carry the death penalty include: bombing of a place of public use resulting in death; possession and use of a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death; and malicious destruction of property resulting in personal injury and death.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.