BODTON – A federal jury Friday sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death, the final chapter to a brutal, emotionally exhausting trial that brought forth indelible images of an unspeakable crime.
There was no visible reaction from Tsarnaev, 21. Several survivors and relatives of victims dabbed tears in the quiet courtroom.
Bill and Denise Richards, parents of the bombing’s littlest victim, 8-year-old Martin, looked on stoically from the second row. They were against the death penalty.
The verdict marked the first time in the post-9/11 era that federal prosecutors have won the death penalty in a terrorism case.
Tsarnaev could be sent to death row in Terre Haute, Indiana, but his final destination will not be known until after the judge formally sentences him in court. No sentencing date has been set.
The six counts that brought Tsarnaev a death sentence all relate to the second of two pressure-cooker bombs, which caused the explosion on Boylston Street in front of the Forum restaurant on April 15, 2013. He was not sentenced to death for the first bomb, which was planted by his brother, Tamerlan, nor for the shooting death of MIT officer Sean Collier.
As the lengthy verdict was read, Tsarnaev stood with his head bowed, hands clasped in front of him.
U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole thanked the defendant’s lawyers and added, “Mr. Tsarnaev has comported himself with propriety.”
When the jury left the courtroom one last time, O’Toole said, “And so, jurors, this is it.” As U.S. marshals stepped forward to take Tsarnaev away, he gave a wry smile.
Survivors of his acts and others reacted immediately.
Sydney Corcoran, who suffered shrapnel wounds; and her mother, who lost both legs, said on Twitter: “My mother and I think that NOW he will go away and we will be able to move on. Justice. In his own words, ‘an eye for an eye.'”
Survivor Jarrod Clowery said he was happy not to have had to make the choice between life and death himself but he stands behind the jury’s decision.
Liz Norden, whose two sons — Paul Norden and J.P. Norden — each had a leg amputated after the attacks, told reporters that the decision was bittersweet.
“There are no winners today but I feel justice for my family,” she said. “I have to watch my two sons put a leg on every day … but I can tell you it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
Survivor Karen Brassard said, “I know there is still a long road ahead … but right now it feels like we can take a breath … Once the verdict came in it was like, ‘Ok, we can start from here and go forward and really feel like it’s behind us.’ There’s nothing happy about having to take somebody’s life.”
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said the death sentence was the result of a fair and impartial trial.
“Even in the wake of horror or tragedy we are not intimidated by acts of terror or radical ideas,” she said.
The bombings were not a religious crime, Ortiz said, even though the bombers claimed to represent Islam. It was a political crime committed by a pair of adults who adopted an ideology of hate, she said.
“It’s time to turn the page in this chapter,” Ortiz said.
Mayor Martin Walsh, in a statement, thanked the jurors.
“I hope this verdict provides a small amount of closure to the survivors, families, and all impacted by the violent and tragic events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon,” he said. “We will forever remember and honor those who lost their lives and were affected by those senseless acts of violence on our city,” he said. – CNN