Day two for Boston bombing death penalty deliberations
A jury began a second day of deliberations Thursday on whether to sentence Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death or life imprisonment, for perpetrating one of the worst attacks in America since September 11.
The 12 men and women, who last month convicted the 21-year-old of Chechen descent on all charges relating to the April 15, 2013 bombings, must reach a unanimous verdict if they are to sentence him to death.
Thursday marks their first full day of deliberations. On Wednesday they met for less than an hour, after the prosecution and defense wrapped their closing arguments.
Two pressure cooker bombs, hidden in backpacks and assembled with online instructions from Al-Qaeda, killed three people and wounded 264 others at the finish line of the northeastern city’s popular marathon.
Government prosecutors say Tsarnaev is a remorseless terrorist who deserves to die for inflicting carnage. The defense say he is a “lost kid,” manipulated into the “heinous crime” by his radical older brother.
Jurors have to complete a 24-page, eight-part verdict form that requires each to weigh aggravating and mitigating factors, list any additional mitigating factors and examine Tsarnaev’s motives.
They can decide to sentence him to death unanimously on all 17 convictions that carry the death penalty, or on some, or sentence him to life in prison.
The defense disputed little evidence in the verdict phase of the trial, but deployed dozens of witnesses in an attempt to save him from the death penalty by portraying older brother Tamerlan as the real culprit.
Tamerlan, 26, was shot dead by police while on the run. Government prosecutors say that Tsarnaev acted of his own free will as an adult.