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Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is sentenced to death

By Raf Sanchez

Published 16/05/2015

A US jury yesterday sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for helping carry out the 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded 264 others at the world-renowned race.

After deliberating 15 hours, the federal jury chose death by lethal injection for Tsarnaev (21) over its only other option: life in prison without possibility of release.

The same panel last month found the ethnic Chechen guilty of placing a pair of home-made pressure-cooker bombs at the race's crowded finish line on April 15, 2013, as well as fatally shooting a policeman.

The bombing was one of the highest-profile attacks on US soil since 9/11 in 2001.

Tsarnaev, dressed in a dark sport coat and light-coloured shirt, stood quietly in court as the sentence was read, maintaining the stoic demeanour he had throughout most of the trial.

US District Judge George O'Toole thanked Tsarnaev for his "composure and propriety".

During 10 weeks of testimony, the jury heard from about 150 witnesses, including people whose legs were torn off by the shrapnel-filled bombs.

Defence attorneys opened the trial on March 5 with the blunt admission that Tsarnaev committed all the crimes he was accused of.

But they argued that their client was a junior partner in a scheme hatched and driven by his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan. Tamerlan died after the gunfight, which ended when Dzhokhar ran him over with a stolen car.

The jury's decision does not mean that death is imminent for the former high school wrestler.

The judge will formally sentence Tsarnaev to death at a hearing some time in the next few months.

Defence attorneys are likely to appeal the decision. The death penalty remains highly controversial in Massachusetts, which has not put anyone to death in almost 70 years.

Belfast Telegraph

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