Boston Federal Jury Sentences Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to Death; Victim Martin Richard’s Family Objects to Verdict

( [email protected] ) May 15, 2015 09:41 PM EDT
A federal jury of seven women and five men sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death on Friday for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. They took over 14 hours to settle on that decision.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon explosion is pictured in. FBI/Reuters

A federal jury of seven women and five men sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death on Friday for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. They took over 14 hours to settle on that decision.

According to Milton J. Valencia, Patricia Wen, Kevin Cullen, John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane of the Boston Globe, 21-year-old Tsarnaev, an immigrant college student who veered toward radical jihad, was convicted last month on 17 charges that carried the possibility of the death penalty at the U.S. District Court in Boston.

"This was not a religious crime," US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said. "It was a political crime designed to intimidate and coerce the United States. ... Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will pay with his life for this crime."

Ortiz added that Tsarnaev's sentence was "fair and just," noting that Americans are "not intimidated by acts of terror or radical ideas."

The Boston Globe reported that US District Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. will impose the sentence on Tsarnaev at a later hearing, which will give his victims an opportunity to confront him.

"You should be justly proud of your service in this case," O'Toole said to the jurors.

According to the Boston Globe, the jurors decided to sentence Tsarnaev to death after finding him directly responsible for his role in planting one of two pressure cooker bombs, which detonated at the Boston Marathon. Two people, 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester and 23-year-old Boston University graduate student Lingzi Lu, were killed in that blast.

"I think there is a strong message being sent today that we are not going to tolerate terrorism," Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said in a press conference. "Whether you agree with the death sentence or not, the message is sent that they are not going to blow up our Marathon, not going to blow up our city."

According to the Boston Globe, Liz Norden, the mother of two adult sons who each lost a leg during the bombing, approved the death sentence.

"There are no winners today, but I feel justice for my family," Norden said. "I have to watch my two sons put on a leg every day. So I don't know about closure. But I can tell you it feels like a weight has been pulled off my shoulders."

Off-duty firefighter Michael Ward told the Boston Globe that the Tsarnaev brothers engaged in a "vile, disgusting thing" that "destroyed countless innocent lives." However, he noted that there was "nothing to celebrate" about the death penalty.

"This is a matter of justice," Ward said. "He wanted to go hell - he is going to get there early."

The Boston Globe reported that the parents of Richard, Bill and Denise Richard, were in the courtroom when the sentence was handed down to Tsarnaev. However, Jenny Hollander of Bustle reported that their wish was to prevent the execution of the convicted bomber.

"Tsarnaev will be executed, but there is one thing you can do to honor Martin's parents' wishes: donate to the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, which was set up in the 8-year-old's honor to ensure, in Martin's words, 'No more hurting people. Peace,'" Hollander wrote.

The Richard family wrote an editorial in the Boston Globe last month arguing why Tsarnaev should not be given the death penalty.

"We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives," the Richard family wrote. "We hope our two remaining children do not have to grow up with the lingering, painful reminder of what the defendant took from them, which years of appeals would undoubtedly bring."

According to Hollander, Jane Richard, Martin's sister, lost a leg in the blast.

"Jane learned to use a prosthetic, and is frequently seen as a symbol of Boston's rebuilding after the bombings," Hollander wrote.

Although the verdict ended in favor of the death penalty, the Richard family wrote in their editorial that the Boston Marathon bombing should be remembered in terms of "the resiliency of the human spirit and the rallying cries of this great city."

"We honor those who were lost and wish continued strength for all those who were injured," the Richard family wrote. "We believe that now is the time to turn the page, end the anguish, and look toward a better future - for us, for Boston, and for the country."

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