Boston bomber attack 'inexcusable, senseless'

2015-04-21 21:15
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI/ AP)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI/ AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Boston - Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's attack in 2013 was "inexcusable" and "senseless," a US prosecutor said on Tuesday as the government began making its case that he should be sentenced to death for the bombing and its aftermath.

Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old ethnic Chechen, was found guilty on April 8 of killing three people and injuring 264 at the marathon finish line and fatally shooting a police officer as he and his older brother, Tamerlan, prepared to flee three days later.

"Unbearable. Indescribable. Inexcusable. And senseless. All of those words have been used to describe the murders committed by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev," said Nadine Pellegrini, an Assistant US Attorney, in the prosecution's opening statement of the sentencing phase on Tuesday. "The deaths committed by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were deliberate, intentional and cruel."

Citing al-Qaeda materials found on his laptop and a note in which he suggested the April 15, 2013 bombing was an act of retribution for US military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries, federal prosecutors have sought to paint Tsarnaev as a violent extremist.

But defence attorneys have countered that 26-year-old Tamerlan, who died following a gunfight with police hours after the officer's slaying, was the driving force behind the attacks, with Dzhokhar acting in a secondary role out of a sense of sibling loyalty.

Tsarnaev's lawyers opted to delay their opening statement until next week, when they are due to begin calling their own witnesses.

Death sentence

US District Judge George O'Toole had blocked the defense from introducing much evidence about Tamerlan in the trial's first phase, but legal experts said Tsarnaev's attorneys will likely have much freer rein in the sentencing phase.

The sentencing phase of the trial is expected to last about four weeks. When it ends, the same jury that convicted Tsarnaev will decide between the death sentence or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The idea of putting Tsarnaev to death is controversial in Boston. Massachusetts state law does not allow for capital punishment, which is an option in this case because Tsarnaev was tried in federal court.

More Boston-area residents oppose putting Tsarnaev to death than support it, according to opinion polls. Over the past week, several people whose family members were killed, or survivors who lost limbs in the attack, have spoken out against the death penalty for Tsarnaev.

They argued that a deal in which Tsarnaev was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole in exchange for giving up his appeal rights would spare victims, their families and the city of Boston from sitting through several more weeks of emotionally draining testimony and possibly years of appeals.

Read more on:    dzhokhar tsarnaev  |  us  |  boston bombings

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.