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.
GUILTY ON COUNT 1.
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.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 8, 2015
If the jury wimps out, Tsarnaev will be sentenced to 13,657 years in prison. With good behavior, he can cut that sentence in half.
— Popehat (@Popehat) April 8, 2015
Every time I want to oppose the death penalty, a Tsarnaev comes along.
— John Nolte (@NolteNC) April 8, 2015
— Erick Brockway (@erickbrockway) April 8, 2015
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) April 8, 2015
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.