Jury reaches verdict on fate of Boston Marathon bomber

BOSTON (WPRI) — A verdict has been reached in the penalty phase of the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The jury had to decide whether the 21-year-old should die for his crimes or spend the rest of his life in prison without parole.

The panel of 12 men and women found Tsarnaev guilty last month of placing a pressure cooker bomb at the finish line on April 15, 2013 – killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. He and his older brother, Tamerlan, also killed MIT police officer Sean Collier a few days later.

The jury convicted Tsarnaev on all 30 charges against him, 17 of which carry the possibility of the death penalty, but jurors have to come to a unanimous decision for it to be imposed.

During the course of the four-month trial, the prosecution laid out their case that Tsarnaev deserves to be punished by way of lethal injection. Throughout the penalty phase, they painted him as a cold, ruthless terrorist by reminding jurors of the pain and suffering he caused. They showed photos and videos of the victims, and called on survivors of the bombings and relatives of the victims to testify.

Tsarnaev’s defense team admitted during the trial that he and Tamerlan carried out the attack, but argued that he doesn’t deserve to die because it was his brother who masterminded the attack. They called more than 40 witnesses to the stand during the penalty phase as they tried to portray the younger Tsarnaev as a naive college kid who was brainwashed by his brother.

Tamerlan, 26, died in a shootout with police days after the attack.

The defense rested their case Monday after calling famed death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean to the stand in a final push to spare Tsarnaev’s life. The Roman Catholic nun was made famous by the 1995 movie “Dead Man Walking.”

Current ADX warden John Oliver testified, shedding a different light on the Supermax prison. He stated that it was possible at some point Tsarnaev may be able to get a prison job, or even be allowed into the general population. Ultimately, Tsarnaev’s level of freedom will be determined by the Justice Department and not the prison staff.

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