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article imagePenalty phase of Marathon bomb trial to begin April 21

By Nathan Salant     Apr 12, 2015 in World
Boston - Jurors who convicted accused 2013 Boston Marathon bomber Dhzokhar Tsarnaev of multiple counts of murder last week will reconvene April 21 to decide whether he should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in federal prison.
U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole ordered Friday that the penalty phase of the trial should begin six days after the second anniversary of the bombing, which killed three and injured more than 260, and one day after the 2015 running of the world famous footrace.
O’Toole ordered all parties to the case to return to court Tuesday for final instructions, according to NBC News.
"The defendant has requested that the penalty phase commence in approximately two weeks so as to, among other things, allow the defendant additional time to resolve outstanding logistical issues with a number of potential witnesses,” O’Toole said in the order.
“It is not uncommon for there to be a brief recess between phases in a capital case," he said.
Tsarnaev, 21, was convicted of 30 criminal charges, 17 of which carry the possibility of the death penalty, for the April 15, 2013, bombings that turned end-of-the race celebrations into scenes of nearly indescribable mayhem and terror.
Tsarnaev’s defense team did not dispute his guilt but instead tried to portray the young college student as less culpable because he was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, who they contended was the mastermind of the attack, NBC said.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police as the siblings tried to flee the Boston area several days after the bombing.
But prosecutors said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was an active participant in the bombings who was seeking revenge for U.S. attacks on predominantly Moslem countries in Asia.
The penalty phase is expected to last at least two weeks as defense attorneys call at least a dozen bombing victims to testify about the horror of the explosions and the aftermath.
Scores of surviving victims were forced to undergo emergency amputations and suffered other catastrophic injuries.
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