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BOSTON BOMBING VERDICT: Jury has decided Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s fate (UPDATE: GUILTY)

BOSTON BOMBING VERDICT: Jury has decided Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s fate (UPDATE: GUILTY)

Facing the “death penalty phase”

A Massachusetts jury is ready to release the verdict in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is accused on 30 counts; 17 of those counts carry a sentence of either death or life in prison.

In terms of the end result, it could come down to Count 1: Conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. If Tsarnaev is found guilty on this count, he will become eligible for the death penalty.

During the trial, prosecutors focused on the devastation caused by the attack, while defense attorneys focused on mitigating factors affecting Tsarnaev’s conduct. They tried to emphasize the role his 26 year-old brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev played in the bombing:

On Monday, the jury saw a video of the moment a bomb exploded and disemboweled an 8-year-old boy and ripped the leg off his sister. The blast killed a 23-year-old graduate student from China. The jurors heard more horror from April 15, 2013. At one point, prosecutors played a video that showed the scene after a bomb exploded — blood and injured victims everywhere and the sounds of a child howling. His mother lost her leg.

“The defendant brought terrorism into the backyards and main streets,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke Chakravarty said. “The defendant thought that his values were more important than the people around him. He wanted to awake the mujahedeen, the holy warriors, so he chose Patriots’ Day, Marathon Monday,” a time for families to gather and watch the marathon.

Tsarnaev’s defense attorney Judy Clarke tried to persuade jurors that her client’s older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shootout with police days after the terror attack, was the instigator of the marathon plot. The younger man, Clarke said, was only following his older brother.

“If not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened,” Clarke argued.

We’ll be updating this post as the verdict is read.



The prosecution is 10 for 10 on the first group of capital charges. This means that the trial will go on to the “death penalty phase,” using the same jury that sat through the initial trial.

Interesting tidbit, via the Fox News commentary: this jury took just 11 hours to come to their verdict. This could bode ill for the defense, which spent a great deal of time during the trial trying to mitigate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s role in the bombing by emphasizing Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s actions.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty and convicted on all 30 counts. On to “aggravating and mitigating factors”; arguments during the next phase of the trial will determine whether Tsarnaev faces life in prison, or the death penalty. (Massachusetts is not a death penalty state, but these are federal charges, so he’s still eligible.)

Note: if just one person is swayed during post-trial, prosecutors could miss out on the death penalty. However, as analysts on multiple networks have said, the fact that the jury didn’t let him walk on one of the lesser charges is a signal that this group has little to no sympathy for the defendant.


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I’ve been at a loss to understand the defense. They’ve just insulted the jury at every possible turn, according to what I’ve seen.

All I can figure is that they were just there to create some appeal-able error. Otherwise, they should just have pled.

    CalFed in reply to Ragspierre. | April 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Guessing the prosecution would not take the DP off the table during the negotiations.

    If the DP was still on the table, might as well roll the bones and hope for LWTPP

      Ragspierre in reply to CalFed. | April 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      I think your comment is valid, but it doesn’t explain the defense’s presentation. From my POV as a trial lawyer, I would NEVER have made some of the arguments to this jury that the defense did, especially KNOWING that they would see images of the carnage wrought by this phuc.

      “His brother made him do it” simply insulted the jury’s intelligence.

        CalFed in reply to Ragspierre. | April 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

        I don’t disagree with you, Rags, but the defense can only work with what they had.

        If the decision was to go to trial, that may have been the best of a small number of other options. I’m not sure what else they may have had as an alternative defense.

        Having said that, during 30 years in law enforcement I was frequently amazed at some of the silly and insulting defenses trotted out by defense attorneys.

        Valerie in reply to Ragspierre. | April 8, 2015 at 6:18 pm

        What other defense do they have? I think they were doing their best to mitigate, but they had very little to work with.

So how do the 17 additional counts account for the death penalty in this case? The WMD usage?

    I’m not sure I understand your question. 17 of the 30 counts are capital. However, if the D wins appeal on any of them, it would not change the track of the trial. Just 1 capital guilty verdict is enough to move on to the DP phase.

“However, as analysts on multiple networks have said, the fact that the jury didn’t let him walk on one of the lesser charges is a signal that this group has little to no sympathy for the defendant.”

And that is before the victim impact evidence comes in. When little Martin Richard’s parents testify, and his sister hobbles in on one leg, and the worst-off of the hundreds of other victims finish their testimony, the jury will likely make quick work of him.

He had better hope he gets the death penalty. If he gets life or life without he will just be one of hundreds of other prisoners doing time. However, if he gets the death sentence he will have access to endless appeals and support from hundreds of anti-death penalty groups and will more than likely outlive many of the posters here including me.

    CalFed in reply to Anchovy. | April 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    The Federal death penalty, if he gets it, will likely be carried out more rapidly than the typical State imposed death penalty. State death penalty cases typically involve appeals first through the State courts, then through the Federal system. In this case, there will be only one set of appeals, all in the Federal system.

    The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act tightened the system in Federal court and imposed stricter time limits on the proceedings.

The Death Penalty is life affirming. Because we value the lives of the innocents we cry out for Justice.

That is why people who support the Death Penalty usually oppose abortion. Because we value innocent life.

Instead of the death penalty, we ought to force this clown to have a special kind of surgery so that he gets Michelle Obama’s face, John Boehner’s balls, Barack Obama’s brain, Hillary Clinton’s ankles, Harry Reid’s right eye, Kim Kardashian’s ass, John McCain’s height, Sen. McTurtle’s voice and the integrity of most people in the ‘news’ media. Then inject him with terminal insomnia and force him to watch Hillary Clinton speeches the rest of his life.

theduchessofkitty | April 8, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had a chance. A chance in this country to make something useful out of himself. A chance to rise up from poverty and disadvantage through his own sweat and lift his family in the process. A chance to make himself and his family proud of some plenty of legitimate accomplishments, which just about every immigrant family has a story to tell.

Instead, he blew it. Big time. He gave in to hate, and this is the result: people who wanted to strive in life, cut off it. People who could have done more, now can do less. Survivors who had to bury loved ones. The list goes on.

He deserves the Death Penalty, for himself and his brother. They both had a chance to become Real Americans. They’re now worth less than zero in this society. And his family is even now more shunned and shamed by their justifications for his actions.

They blew it. Big time.

May he live long enough to regret it.

theduchessofkitty | April 8, 2015 at 11:55 pm

Oh, one more thing.

His parents and siblings should be DEPORTED and banned from ever returning to the United States.

If you hear her defense of her sons, you will know for sure where they got their hatred from. Kick her out of here!

buckeyeminuteman | April 9, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Who even reads Rolling Stone? Kurt Cobain, really??? That’s so 1994…