Attorneys for Tsarnaev appeal his conviction and death sentence, arguing that “continuous and unrelenting publicity”, including social media posts about the bombings, the defendant and his family, and survivor stories prevented him from getting an impartial hearing. It notes that Boston announced a new holiday marking the bombings while jurors were deliberating Tsarnaev’s guilt.
Put simply, prejudicial media coverage, events, and environment saturated greater Boston, including the social networks of actual trial jurors, and made it an improper venue for the trial of this case.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers also argue that the death penalty sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
As part of the formal sentencing proceedings, 24 people give victim impact statements at the sentencing in federal court. After the statements, Tsarnaev apologizes to the victims and survivors of the terror attack:
I am guilty of the bombing, let there be no lingering question about that. After the bombing, i learned victims’ names and saw their faces. I also wish more people had the chance to testify. “I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, the sorrow I have caused. I have done irreparable damage. I pray for Allah to bestow mercy upon those I killed and their families. I ask Allah to have mercy upon everyone here today, on my and my brother…. Thank you
Tsarnaev is sentenced to death. There was no visible reaction from Tsarnaev as the sentence is delivered. The jury’s verdict marks the first time in the post-9/11 era that federal prosecutors have won the death penalty in a terrorism case. Tsarnaev will likely be sent to the federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The penalty phase in the Tsarnaev trial begins with jurors deliberating life without parole or death by lethal injection. Victims of the 2013 bombing are divided over the sentencing options. Harvard Law School professor, Nancy Gertner predicts:
He’s going to be on death row for decades. There will be multiple appeals. Looking at it realistically, he’s going to die in prison one way or the other.
Security is high along the marathon course in light of the bombing two years ago. Police urge spectators not to bring large bags or coolers, saying such items will be subject to search. The use of drones along the course is also banned. Mayor Walsh:
We have significant resources and personnel out there to protect our public. It won’t change our atmosphere. The city will be the same positive environment that people are used to enjoying during the Boston Marathon.
The race occurs during a break in the Tsarnaev trial and U.S. District Judge George O’Toole orders the trial’s jurors and alternates to stay away from the race.
The seven woman, five man Federal jury finds Tsarnaev guilty of all 17 counts that carry the death penalty. There are 30 counts in all: Twelve relate to the two pressure-cooker bombs used at the marathon. Three other charges dealt with conspiracy; another three covered the fatal shooting of Sean Collier. The final 12 apply to the time after Collier’s murder, including a carjacking, robbery and use of improvised explosives. The defense had argued that while Dzohkhar was involved, he was manipulated by his older brother, Tamerlan.
As Federal Judge O’Toole reads the verdict Tsarnaev stands emotionless with his hands folded, looking down at the defense table. The jury will now decide whether Tsarnaev receives a life sentence or the death penalty.
Jurors are shown photographs of a blood-stained, hand-scrawled note written in pencil and speckled with bullet holes inside the boat Tsarnaev was captured in. Tsarnaev appears to decry U.S. actions in Muslim countries and says he is jealous of his brother because he is dead and now in paradise. Prosecutors consider the note a confession and say it refers to the motive for the attack.
I do not mourn because his soul is very much alive. God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in this boat and shed some light on our actions…The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that. As a M (bullet hole) I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished, we Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all…Now I don’t like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said (bullet hole) it is allowed.
During cross-examination of a bomb technician who investigated the scene, Tsarnaev’s lawyers established that all the bullet holes were from shots coming into the boat when police fired. The officer said no bombs, guns or weapons of any kind were found inside the boat.
A panel of twelve jurors and six alternates are chosen for Tsarnaev’s federal death penalty trial. Eight men and ten women make up the panel of jurors and alternates. Many potential jurors are dismissed after they stated they had already formed an opinion on Tsarnaev’s guilt or that they are morally opposed to the death penalty. Many others are excused because of their personal connections to the bombings: they have friends or family who were near the finish line when the bombs went off or they knew first responders who treated the victims.
Federal prosecutors file charges against a Cambridge, Massachusetts man saying he supplied the gun to the Tsarnaev brothers that was used to kill MIT police offer Sean Collier three days after the bombing. Drug and firearms charges filed against Stephen Silva last week are made public. The indictment states he had a Ruger model 95 9mm pistol with the serial number obliterated as of February 2013; this is the same kind of gun was used to kill Collier.
Azamat Tazhayakov is found guilty of conspiracy and faces up to 25 years in prison for removing a backpack from bombing suspect Tsarnaev’s room at a college dorm. Tazhayakov’s mother sobs loudly in the courtroom as the jury’s decision is read. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin said Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev, another friend of Tsarnev, removed the backpack after the FBI released images of Tsarnaev and his brother as suspects in the 2013 marathon attack. Tazhayakov’s attorney Matthew Myers:
We understand that the judge is under a certain amount of pressure in the case to put it to this defendant because of the backdrop of the case.
Tsarnaev appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and is profiled in a feature. An editor note accompanies the article:
The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens
Two homemade bombs explode 12 seconds and 210 yards apart on Boylson Street, where crowds of fans and runners wait at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three and wounding nearly 300 others. The bombs were undetected by officials who swept the area twice before the beginning of the race, though people are permitted to carry bags in and out of the area freely. The blasts blow out windows on adjacent buildings but do not cause any structural damage.
The initial response team is made up of Massachusetts Army National Guard soldiers, Boston Police, The American Red Cross, and a Naval bomb-disposal unit.