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article imageOp-Ed: Death sentence was foregone conclusion in Marathon bomb case

By Nathan Salant     May 18, 2015 in Crime
Boston - Yes, it would be hard to imagine why a society that has a death penalty would not use it against a creep like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the eastern European immigrant who helped plant bombs at the Boston Marathon in 2013.
So, no, it could not have been much of a surprise last week when a federal jury in Massachusetts agreed unanimously to execute the 21-year-old, who was found guilty of plotting with his brother to kill, maim and terrorize as many U.S. residents as they could out of a twisted sense of political outrage.
The jury deliberated 14 hours over three days before imposing the ultimate penalty on Tsarnaev, who seemingly had tried to resume his regular life immediately after the attack until authorities tracked him and his brother down.
Tsarnaev was shot and wounded several days after the marathon in a shootout with police and FBI agents; his brother, Tamerlan, then 26, was killed.
Three people were killed in the bombings in Boston’s historic Copley Square and 260 injured; a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sean Collier, also was killed when the brothers tried to escape after the bombing.
"Today, the jury has spoken -- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will pay for his crimes with his life," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said after the hearing, according to the Associated Press.
That the cold, calculating Tsarnaev brothers – men who designed their crime to inflict maximum suffering on unsuspecting countrymen and women who had accepted them - could have lived unnoticed by Boston’s renowned college society probably was the hardest question for the jury to come to terms with.
They had a monster in their midst – two monsters, actually – bent on the catastrophic destruction of everything they held dear, and they not only welcomed the beast but nurtured it and befriended it.
Some of his school friends apparently even tried to help Tsarnaev escape by lying to investigators and destroying evidence, as if the monster was a kid like them trying to weasel out of a marijuana bust.
But Tsarnaev’s own writing before his capture said the bombing was in retaliation for U.S. attacks on Moslem countries.
Tsarnaev’s publicly funded defense team, led by noted defense lawyer Judith Clarke, admitted from the very first day of trial that her client was guilty as charged but tried to humanize him in the minds of the 12 jurors in an effort to avoid the death penalty.
Not even one of the jurors bought that story.
But how could they have, seriously, after being so rudely shocked by the horrendous violence of the original bombing in one of the country’s oldest and most-glorious cities and then subjected to days and weeks of coiffed disrespect from Tsarnaev himself, who sat silently and expressionless through hours of gruesome testimony about the carnage.
Killed: Collier, 23-year-old Boston University graduate student Lingzi Lu, 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who had been standing near where Tsarnaev planted one of the two bombs.
Injured: More than 260, including 17 who lost legs.
The death sentence was greeted with relief by many in Boston, including Karen Brassard, who was hurt by shrapnel in the bombing.
“We can breathe again,” Brassard said.
But what is done is done.
Killing Tsarnaev does not and cannot change anything that happened.
The only choice for jurors was between lethal injection, presumably at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001, or life in prison at the maximum security federal penitentiary in Florence, Colo.
Tsarnaev was convicted of 30 charges, including murder, after a month-long trial that ended in April.
U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. still has to formally impose sentence on Tsarnaev, at a court hearing that has yet to be scheduled but is expected during the summer, the AP said.
Tsarnaev, who has not testified in the case so far, will get another opportunity to speak at the sentencing hearing, the AP said.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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