Will Tsarnaev Break His Silence?
Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be given the opportunity to speak publicly Wednesday when a judge formally imposes the death sentence recommended by a jury for the 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded 264 others.
The sentencing hearing will feature statements by bombing victims on how the attack has affected them. Tsarnaev himself will also get a chance to speak although it is unclear if he will. The 21-year old remained silent throughout his trial.
Last month, a jury consisting of seven men and five women unanimously determined that, based on the “aggravating and mitigating circumstances,” Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death.
The jury had to reach a unanimous decision for Tsarnaev to receive the death penalty. Otherwise, he would have spent the rest of his life in prison without parole.
In a statement following the verdict, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch accused Tsarnaev of “coldly and callously” perpetrating a terrorist attack. She said no verdict can “heal the souls of those who lost loved ones, nor the minds and bodies of those who suffered life-changing injuries.” But she said the death penalty is a “fitting punishment for this horrific crime” and said she hoped the case’s completion brings closure to the victims and their families.
Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty earlier this year of all 30 terrorism and other charges against him. Of those, 17 carried the possibility of the death penalty.
During the penalty phase of the judicial proceedings, prosecutors brushed off defense arguments that Tsarnaev was under the strong influence of his older, radicalized brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a police shootout.
The Boston Marathon bombing was one of the bloodiest terrorist attacks in the United States since September 11, 2001.
Two pressure-cooker bombs packed with shrapnel exploded near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. The Tsarnaev brothers also killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer days later.