Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three (including an 8-year-old boy) and injured over 250 people.
“After all of the carnage and fear and terror that he has caused, the right decision is clear,” a federal prosecutor, Steven Mellin, said in his closing argument. “The only sentence that will do justice in this case is a sentence of death.”
Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty of all 30 counts related to the tragedy that occured in April 2013. The jury deliberated for more than 14 hours and reached their decision just after 3 p.m.
Bill and Denise Richards, parents of the bombing’s littlest victim, 8-year-old Martin, took seats in the second row near the jury box. Jurors saw the second bomb go off by the Forum restaurant and they viewed videos and photographs of the carnage. They heard the screams and saw people on the street, dying even as bystanders rushed to help. And they heard from people who survived against all odds but continue to struggle with their injuries.
Denise was blinded in one eye and her daughter, 6-year-old Jane, lost her left leg.
Tamerlan, Dzhokhar’s late older brother, was made out to be the mastermind of the bombing; the siblings created homemade bombs with pressure cookers filled with nails, BBs, and gun powder. Tamerlan was killed by police during a standoff in Watertown shortly after the bombing. Dzhokhar was found the next day hiding in a tarp-covered boat with a note stating he was jealous of his brother for dying like a “hero.”
“The US Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that,” he wrote. “Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that. We are promised victory and we will surely get it.”
He wrote that he couldn’t stand to see the U.S. government “go unpunished” for killing Muslims.
“We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.”
He ended with: “Now I don’t like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said [word lost to a bullet hole] it is allowed.”
The tragedy brought sorrow and pain to many, but for some, a happy ending. James Costello, a victim of the bombing, married his rehab nurse Krista D’Agostino in August of last year. D’Agostino — a nurse at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital – met Costello shortly after he entered the facility.
“I saw a nurse in passing, this would turn out to be Krista. After sharing a handful of conversations I realized not only how beautiful she was but also what a kind heart she had,” said Costello, who was at the finish line with pals when the bombs detonated.
The sentencing marks the first time a federal jury had sentenced a terrorist to death in the post-Sept. 11 era. An appeal can be reached in the case, but will take years to deliberate.