US to seek death penalty for Boston bomber

2014-01-31 08:14
This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev standing with his lawyer Miriam Conrad. (Jane Flavell Collins/ AP)

This courtroom sketch depicts Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev standing with his lawyer Miriam Conrad. (Jane Flavell Collins/ AP)

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

kalahari.com

Washington - The United States is to seek a rare federal death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving young student accused of the Boston marathon bombings, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

Three people were killed and about 260 wounded on 15 April last year when two bombs made of explosives-packed pressure cookers went off near the finish line of the Boston marathon. Several of the injured lost limbs.

Tsarnaev, then 19, and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev were cornered by police after a four-day manhunt. Tamerlan died after an exchange of fire with police and Dzhokhar was wounded.

"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," Holder said in a statement on the prosecution of the 20-year-old, a US citizen from a Chechen Muslim family.

Experts say the announcement - which was widely anticipated - is partly a symbolic gesture to the American public, for whom the bombings reignited traumatic memories of the 11 September 2001 attacks, and does not necessarily mean Tsarnaev will be executed if found guilty.

Full trial

The shaggy-haired onetime student has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges related to the bombings, including 17 serious charges that can carry sentences of death or life in prison.

These charges include using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, as well as conspiracy and bombing of a place of public use resulting in death, and carjacking.

Tsarnaev is also charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the brothers' wild overnight getaway attempt.

Carmen Ortiz, the federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, home to Boston, said in a statement: "We support this decision and the trial team is prepared to move forward with the prosecution".

She added: "The case will now continue to proceed through the pre-trial process and the next scheduled court event is a status conference set for 12 February 2014".

The full trial, which will garner worldwide media interest, is likely to begin in the autumn and is expected to take about five months of what is sure to be harrowing testimony from runners and spectators, some of whom suffered life-changing injuries.

Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1982, but Tsarnaev is accused under federal law.

‘Wants to live’

Of nearly 500 death sentences sought at federal level, only 70 were handed down and there have been only three actual executions since the reinstatement of the federal death penalty in 1988.

If Tsarnaev is executed, he will be the first defendant to be put to death at federal level since Timothy McVeigh, who went to the death chamber in June 2001 for the Oklahoma City bombing.

Richard Dieter, director of the non-profit Death Penalty Information Centre, told AFP: "It's just an option on the table. There are many more steps to go in this process".

Judy Clarke, a renowned lawyer and specialist on the death penalty who has saved several high-profile convicts from the gallows, is representing Tsarnaev.

She will fight hard, Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard, said recently.

Their client "wants to live and he wants to avoid execution, they are not going to say, 'I want to die, I want to join my brother'".

Clarke has successfully saved several notorious convicts from the death penalty, including Frenchman Zacarias Moussaoui, accused of complicity in the 11 September attacks on the United States, the famous "Unabomber " Ted Kaczynski, and Eric Rudolph, responsible for the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing in 1996.

Read more on:    tamerlan tsarnaev  |  us  |  boston explosions
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Kuils River - 09:53 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
  • Tuesday Goodwood - 09:10 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive Southbound
    DELAYS towards Voortrekker Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia E6

Nokia E6 has 8-megapixel digital camera with autofocus and built...

From R2599.69

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come up to alert you of your security needs. It may be that you need to create a better structure for your finances...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.