Court nixes death sen­tence of Bos­ton Marathon bomber


A fed­eral ap­peals court Fri­day threw out Dzhokhar Tsar­naev’s death sen­tence in the 2013 Bos­ton Marathon bomb­ing, say­ing the judge who over­saw the case did not ad­e­quately screen ju­rors for po­ten­tial bi­ases.

A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals or­dered a new penalty-phase trial on whether the 27-year-old Tsar­naev should be ex­e­cuted for the at­tack that killed three peo­ple and wounded more than 260 oth­ers.

“But make no mis­take: Dzhokhar will spend his re­main­ing days locked up in prison, with the only mat­ter re­main­ing be­ing whether he will die by ex­e­cu­tion,” Judge O. Rogeriee Thomp­son wrote in the rul­ing, more than six months af­ter ar­gu­ments were heard in the case.

An email seek­ing com­ment was sent to an at­tor­ney for Tsar­naev. A spokesper­son for the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice in Bos­ton said they were re­view­ing the opin­ion and had no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

Pros­e­cu­tors could ask the full ap­peals court to hear the case or go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The mother of Krys­tle Camp­bell, a 29-year-old killed in the at­tack, ex­pressed out­rage at the court’s de­ci­sion.

“I just don’t un­der­stand it,” Pa­tri­cia Camp­bell told The Bos­ton Globe. “It’s just ter­ri­ble that he’s al­lowed to live his life. It’s un­fair. He didn’t wake up one morn­ing and de­cide to do what he did. He planned it out. He did a vi­cious, ugly thing.”

For­mer Mas­sachusetts Bay Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity of­fi­cer Dic Dono­hue, who was se­verely in­jured in a gun­fight with the broth­ers, said the rul­ing was not sur­pris­ing to him.

“And in any case, he won’t be get­ting out and hasn’t been able to harm any­one since he was cap­tured,” he tweeted.

Tsar­naev’s lawyers ac­knowl­edged at the be­gin­ning of his trial that he and his older brother, Tamer­lan Tsar­naev, set off the two bombs at the marathon fin­ish line. But they ar­gued that Dzhokar Tsar­naev is less cul­pa­ble than his brother, who they said was the mas­ter­mind be­hind the at­tack.

Tamer­lan Tsar­naev died in a gun­bat­tle with po­lice a few days af­ter the April 15, 2013, bomb­ing. Dzhokar Tsar­naev is now be­hind bars at a high-se­cu­rity su­per­max prison in Florence, Colorado.

Dzhokhar Tsar­naev

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