Share this story...
Latest News

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to death in Boston Marathon bombings

LISTEN: Boston Bomber Sentenced To Death - Monica Lindstrom

PHOENIX — A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death on Friday for his role in the Boston Marathon bombings.

He will be executed by lethal injection.

The jury took less than two full days of deliberation to hand down the sentence. Tsarnaev was eligible to receive life in prison.

In closing arguments, Tsarnaev’s attorney, Judy Clarke, said a decision to let her client live would be “a decision of strength” and a show of Boston’s resilience since the deadly 2013 attack.

During a graphic closing statement, prosecutor Steve Mellin said death would not make Tsarnaev a martyr, but give him the sentence he deserves.

The 21-year-old was found guilty nearly two years after the April 15, 2013, twin bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded in the nation’s deadliest terror attack since Sept. 11.

In a bid to save Tsarnaev from a death sentence, Clarke argued Tsarnaev fell under the influence of his radicalized brother. Tamerlan, 26, died when he was shot by police and run over by his brother during a chaotic getaway attempt days after the bombing.

“If not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened,” Clarke told the jury during the trial.

The jury did not agree.

Prosecutors, however, portrayed the brothers — ethnic Chechens who moved to the U.S. from Russia more than a decade ago — as full partners in a plan to punish the U.S. for its wars in Muslim countries. Jihadist writings, lectures and videos were found on both their computers, though the defense argued that Tamerlan downloaded the material and sent it to his brother.

Killed were Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Chinese graduate student at Boston University; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager; and 8-year-old Martin Richard. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier was shot and killed during the brothers’ getaway attempt.

Some of the most damning evidence presented in the trial included video showing Tsarnaev planting a backpack containing one of the bombs near where the 8-year-old was standing, and incriminating statements scrawled inside the dry-docked boat where a wounded and bleeding Tsarnaev was captured days after the tragedy.

“Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop,” he wrote.

Testimony about phone records said they showed Dzhokhar was at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth while his brother was buying bomb components, including pressure cookers and BBs. A forensics expert said Tamerlan’s computer showed search terms such as “detonator,” “transmitter and receiver,” while Dzhokhar was largely spending time on Facebook and other social media sites.

Also, an FBI investigator said Tamerlan’s fingerprints — but not Dzhokhar’s — were found on pieces of the two bombs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.