By Sarah Rovinksy
The jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the notorious Boston Marathon Bomber, to death on 6 of the 17 counts, including use of a weapon of mass destruction, bombing of a public place and malicious destruction of property. A death sentence required a unanimous vote from the jury members, but if they had failed to agree on it, the life sentence would have been imposed automatically. Tsarnaev displayed no reaction as the jury’s decision was announced and no remorse for his actions during his time in court. He did, however, shed a few tears while his aunt testified.
The sentence punishes Tsarnaev for two homemade pressure cooker bombs packed with nails and BBs that he and his brother detonated near the marathon’s finish line. Tamerlan died during a shootout with police in Watertown, Massachusetts, four days after the bombings. Dzhokhar was captured hours later, found hiding in a boat. On the side of the boat, he had scrawled a confession explaining the attack was retaliation for Muslims around the world that had been killed by the United States.
The bombing killed three people — Martin Richard, 8, Lingzi Lu, 23, and Krystle Campbell, 29 — and injured 264 others. On April 18, the brothers assassinated a MIT police officer, Sean Collier, in his patrol car while attempting to steal his gun.
“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 to the Huffington Post after the sentence was announced. “But the ultimate penalty is the 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.”
Liz Norden, whose two sons each lost a leg in the bombing, said in the Huffington Post, “It is bittersweet … There are no winners today.” She added that she thought the death penalty was an “appropriate sentence.”
Others spoke in opposition of the death sentence. Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA, responded to the sentence in the Huffington Post by saying the death penalty “is not justice.” “It will only compound the violence, and it will not deter others from committing similar crimes in the future,” he said in a statement. “It is outrageous that the federal government imposes this cruel and inhuman punishment, particularly when the people of Massachusetts have abolished it in their state.”