Now that a jury has convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev on all charges, even more is at stake in the next phase of the
federal trial: The same 12 people must decide whether the 21-year-old
lives or dies.
Tsarnaev was found guilty yesterday of 30 counts
against him, including conspiracy and deadly use of a weapon of mass
Seventeen of those charges are punishable by death.
The verdict was considered practically a foregone conclusion since
Tsarnaev’s lawyer admitted he took part in the bombings.
former college student was found responsible for the deaths of three
people who died in the bombings as well as the killing of a
Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who was gunned down
days later as Tsarnaev and his now-dead brother, Tamerlan, attempted to
In addition to the people who were killed, more than 260
others were injured when twin pressure-cooker bombs packed with shrapnel
exploded near the marathon’s finish line on April 15, 2013, turning the
traditionally celebratory home stretch of the world-famous race into a
scene of carnage.
The defence lawyers, who barely cross-examined the
prosecution’s witnesses during the first part of the trial, are expected
to become much more aggressive during the penalty phase, when they will
make a case that Tsarnaev’s life should be spared.
gave a preview of its case during the trial when it insisted the then
19-year-old Tsarnaev was strongly influenced by his radicalised older
brother, who was said to have masterminded the attack.
lawyers are expected to continue that theme, but also to explore the
brothers’ relationship more deeply and perhaps bring in evidence about
Tsarnaev’s life in Russia and the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan,
where the family lived before moving to the United States about a decade
before the bombings. The defence can present any mitigating evidence it
believes will persuade the jury life in prison is the appropriate
punishment rather than death.
Legal analysts said they don’t expect the defence case to contain any new revelations about Tsarnaev.
the trial, prosecutors portrayed Tsarnaev and his brother – ethnic
Chechens – as full partners in a plan to punish the US for its wars in
Muslim countries. Tamerlan Tsar-naev, 26, died when he was shot by
police and run over by his brother during a chaotic getaway attempt days
after the bombing.
The jury must agree unanimously for Tsarnaev to receive a death sentence; otherwise the penalty will be life behind bars.