Boston bomber apologises after formal death sentence

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev tells court he was sorry for ‘irreparable damage’ he caused

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (21) was found guilty of killing three people and injuring 264 in the April 15th, 2013, bombing on the Boston Marathon, as well as fatally shooting a police officer three days later. Photograph: EPA/FBI

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (21) was found guilty of killing three people and injuring 264 in the April 15th, 2013, bombing on the Boston Marathon, as well as fatally shooting a police officer three days later. Photograph: EPA/FBI

 

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologised at a Wednesday hearing to formally sentence him to death for the 2013 attack.

“I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done, irreparable damage,” the 21-year-old told a federal court. It was the first time Tsarnaev, who did not speak in his own defence at trial, had addressed the court.

Tsarnaev was found guilty of killing three people and injuring 264 in the April 15th, 2013, bombing on the world-renowned race, as well as fatally shooting a police officer three days later.

Trial

The trial of Tsarnaev (21) stirred some of Boston’s darkest living memories. Jurors saw videos of the twin pressure-cooker bombs’ blinding flashes and the chaotic aftermath as first responders and spectators rushed to aid the wounded, many of whom lost legs.

The court also heard testimony from the families of the dead, including the fathers of Martin Richard (8) and Krystle Campbell (29); an aunt of Lingzi Lu (23); and the brother of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Seán Collier (26) whom Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, shot dead three days after the bombing.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a gunfight with police after Collier’s shooting.

During the trial, victims who were questioned by federal prosecutors were limited to discussing the facts of the case. Wednesday’s victim-impact statements will allow them more leeway to discuss the bombing’s toll on their lives.

Federal prosecutors described the brothers as adherents of al-Qaeda’s militant Islamist ideology who wanted to “punish America” with the attack.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers admitted their client had played a role in the attack but tried to portray him as the junior partner in a scheme hatched and driven by his older brother. The Tsarnaev family came to the US from Russia a decade before the attack.

Tsarnaev is expected to appeal.

Even after the sentencing, the legal wrangling over Tsarnaev’s fate could play out over years, if not decades. Just three of the 74 people sentenced to death in the US for federal crimes since 1998 have been executed.

Reuters