Tsar­naev con­victed on all charges in bomb­ing of the Bos­ton Marathon


Dzhokhar Tsar­naev was con­victed on all charges Wed­nes­day in the Bos­ton Marathon bomb­ing by a jury that will now de­cide whether the 21-year-old should be ex­e­cuted or shown mercy for what his lawyer says was a crime mas­ter­minded by his big brother.

The for­mer col­lege stu­dent stood with his hands folded, fid­geted and looked down at the de­fense ta­ble in fed­eral court as he lis­tened to the word “guilty” re­cited on all 30 counts against him, in­clud­ing con­spir­acy and deadly use of a weapon of mass de­struc­tion. Seven­teen of those counts are pun­ish­able by death.

The ver­dict, reached af­ter a day and a half of de­lib­er­a­tions, was prac­ti­cally a fore­gone con­clu­sion, given his lawyer’s star­tling ad­mis­sion at the trial’s out­set that Tsar­naev car­ried out the ter­ror attack with his now-dead older brother, Tamer­lan.

The 12-mem­ber jury must be unan­i­mous for Tsar­naev to re­ceive a death sen­tenced; oth­er­wise the penalty will be life be­hind bars.

The de­fense strat­egy is to try to save Tsar­naev’s life in the up­com­ing penalty phase by ar­gu­ing he fell un­der the evil in­flu­ence of his brother.

Pros­e­cu­tors, how­ever, por­trayed the broth­ers — eth­nic Chechens who moved to the United States from Rus­sia more than a decade ago — as full part­ners in a bru­tal and cold­blooded plan to pun­ish the U.S. for its wars in Mus­lim coun­tries. Ji­hadist writ­ings, lec­tures and videos were found on both their com­put­ers, though the de­fense ar­gued that Tamer­lan down­loaded the ma­te­rial and sent it to his brother.

The two shrap­nel-packed pres­sure-cooker bombs that ex­ploded near the fin­ish line on April 15, 2013, killed three spec­ta­tors and wounded more than 260 other peo­ple, turn­ing the tra­di­tion­ally cel­e­bra­tory home stretch of the world-fa­mous race into a scene of car­nage and putting the city on edge for days.

Tsar­naev was found re­spon­si­ble not only for those deaths but for the killing of a Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy po­lice of­fi­cer who was gunned down days later.

“It’s not a happy oc­ca­sion, but it’s some­thing,” said Karen Bras­sard, who suf­fered shrap­nel wounds on her legs. “One more step be­hind us.”

She said Tsar­naev ap­peared “ar­ro­gant” and un­in­ter­ested dur­ing the trial, and she wasn’t sur­prised when she saw no re­morse on his face as the ver­dicts were read. She re­fused to say whether she be­lieves he de­serves the death penalty, but she re­jected the de­fense ar­gu­ment that he was sim­ply fol­low­ing his brother’s lead.

“He was in col­lege. He was a grown man who knew what the con­se­quences would be,” Bras­sard said. “I be­lieve he was `all in’ with the brother.”

Tsar­naev’s lawyers left the court­house with­out com­ment­ing.

In the penalty phase, which could begin as early as Mon­day, the jury will hear ev­i­dence on whether he should get the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in pri­son.

De­fense at­tor­ney Judy Clarke ar­gued that Tsar­naev was led astray by his rad­i­cal­ized brother, telling the jury: “If not for Tamer­lan, it would not have hap­pened.” She re­peat­edly re­ferred to Dzhokhar — then 19 — as a “kid” and a “teenager.”

Tamer­lan, 26, died when he was shot by po­lice and run over by his brother dur­ing a chaotic get­away at­tempt days af­ter the bomb­ing.

The gov­ern­ment called 92 wit­nesses over 15 days, paint­ing a hellish scene of torn-off limbs, blood-spat­tered pave­ment, ghastly screams and the smell of sul­fur and burned hair.

Sur­vivors gave heart­break­ing tes­ti­mony about los­ing legs in the blasts or watch­ing peo­ple die. The fa­ther of 8-year-old Martin Richard de­scribed mak­ing the ag­o­niz­ing de­ci­sion to leave his mor­tally wounded son so he could get help for their 6- year- old daugh­ter, whose leg had been blown off.

In the court­room Wed­nes­day, Denise Richard, the boy’s mother, wiped tears from her face af­ter the ver­dict. The boy’s fa­ther, Bill Richard, em­braced one of the pros­e­cu­tors.

In Rus­sia, Tsar­naev’s fa­ther, An­zor Tsar­naev, told The As­so­ci­ated Press in re­cent days that he would have no com­ment.

The oth­ers killed in the bomb­ing were Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Chi­nese grad­u­ate stu­dent at Bos­ton Uni­ver­sity, and Krys­tle Camp­bell, a 29-year-old restau­rant manager. MIT Of­fi­cer Sean Col­lier was shot to death at close range days later.

Some of the most damn­ing ev­i­dence at the trial in­cluded video show­ing Tsar­naev plant­ing a back­pack con­tain­ing one of the bombs near where the 8-year-old boy was stand­ing, and in­crim­i­nat­ing state­ments scrawled in­side the dry-docked boat where a wounded and bleed­ing Tsar­naev was cap­tured days af­ter the tragedy.

“Stop killing our in­no­cent peo­ple and we will stop,” he wrote.

Tsar­naev’s lawyers barely cross-ex­am­ined the gov­ern­ment’s wit­nesses and called just four peo­ple to the stand over less than two days, all in an ef­fort to por­tray the older brother as the guiding force in the plot.


In this court­room sketch, Dzhokhar Tsar­naev, sec­ond from left, is de­picted stand­ing with his de­fense at­tor­neys Wil­liam Fick, left, Judy Clarke, sec­ond from right, and David Bruck, right, as the jury presents its ver­dict in his fed­eral death penalty trial in Bos­ton on Wed­nes­day, April 8.

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