Surviving victims and family members of those killed are pleased with the sentence and many have forgiven Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, who was also involved with the bombing during the 2013 Boston Marathon.
BOSTON -A judge formally sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death on Wednesday.
“Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you did,” Judge George O’Toole told him. “What will be remembered is you murdered and maimed innocent people.”
Addressing the court during his federal sentencing hearing, Tsarnaev acknowledged Ramadan and expressed gratitude to Allah, asking Allah to help the victims and their families. “If there is any lingering doubt, I did it along with my brother,” he said, referring to the bombing. “I ask Allah to have mercy on me, my brother and my family.”
Tsarnaev apologized during his federal sentencing hearing. “I would like to now apologize to the victims and the survivors,” he said. “I am sorry for the lives that I have taken.”
Earlier, families of the victims and survivors made victim impact statements, leaving some jurors in attendance in tears.
[Previous story, posted at 2:06 p.m. ET]
The outcome of Wednesday morning’s federal sentencing hearing is a foregone conclusion. The decision to impose the death penalty belonged to the jury, so the proceedings are a formality.
Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old former college student, is the first person to be handed a death sentence in a federal terrorism case since the attacks of September 11, 2001. He and his older brother, Tamerlan, who died while fleeing police, set off two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.
Two women and an 8-year-old boy were killed and more than 260 other people were injured. The blasts left 17 people — all active, outdoorsy people — amputees. A fourth person, an MIT police officer, was killed during the hunt for the Tsarnaevs.
“I know life is hard, but the choices that you made were despicable,” said the mother of victim Krystle Campbell, Patricia, who stood with her husband, William, and her son and brother.
“You will never know why she is so desperately missed by those of us who loved her,” Karen McWatters, a friend of Campbell’s, told Tsarnaev, who was facing in the direction of the speakers but not directly looking at them.
Tsarnaev instead often looked down, as he did during most of his long trial.
Rebekah Gregory, who lost a leg, said she was not giving a victim impact statement.
“To do that,” she said, “I would have to be someone’s victim. I’m definitely not yours, or your brother’s.”
Tsarnaev’s actions served only to bring people together, she said. Soon, people will forget him as well as his brother.
“It’s so funny to me that you smirk and flip off the camera because that is what I feel we do to you every day we continue to succeed, fake limbs or not,” she said, referring to the infamous image of the defendant raising his middle finger to a surveillance video in his cell.
“We are ‘Boston Strong,’ ” she told Tsarnaev, who would not look at her. “We are America strong.”
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