Tsarnaev guilty in Marathon bombings

Tsarnaev guilty in Marathon bombings

 Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted Wednesday of carrying out the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which devastated a festive crowd near the finish line of the world-renowned race, killing three people and wounding more than 260 others.

Tsarnaev, 21, who prosecutors said was a self-radicalized Muslim bent on striking a blow against America, now faces a second phase of his trial in which a jury will decide whether to sentence him to death. The second phase begins next week in US District Court in Boston.

Tsarnaev and his late older brother, Tamerlan, planted two bombs at the race on the afternoon of April 15, 2013. Tsarnaev was also convicted of murdering an MIT police officer several days after the bombing and battling police in a wild firefight in Watertown just outside of Boston several days after the bombing.

Prosecutors argued that Tsarnaev committed the crimes in a “heinous, cruel and depraved manner” and that he deserved the death penalty. A jury rendered a sweeping verdict for the prosecution, convicting Tsarnaev of all 30 crimes he was charged with, including 17 that carried the possibility of a death sentence.

The jury of seven women and five men had deliberated for just over 11 hours after hearing closing arguments from the defense and prosecution on Monday.

In the packed but silent courtroom, Tsarnaev stood as a court clerk worked his way through the lengthy verdict sheet. Tsarnaev wiped his face at one point. At another, he wrapped his arms across his chest. But he did not show any signs of strong emotion even as he learned he could face the death penalty. When the verdicts had been read, he sat down in his chair and rubbed his left eye, his face still blank.

Krystle Campbell, 29, of Arlington; Martin Richard, 8, of Dorchester; and Lingzi Lu, 23, a Chinese graduate student at Boston University, were killed in the bombing. Other blast victims suffered grievous injuries, including 17 who lost limbs.

MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was killed several days later in what prosecutors said was an assassination by the brothers, who wanted to obtain his gun before heading to New York to sow more destruction.

As the clerk announced “guilty”’ to numerous counts, Denise Richard, mother of Martin Richard, fought back tears and appeared to be looking toward Tsarnaev, while her husband, Bill, and other family members were still, intently listening.

Collier’s family applauded the life that he led, while denouncing Tsarnaev, who sneaked up and murdered Collier as he sat in his cruiser on the MIT campus.

“Sean Collier gave his life doing what he was born to do – serving and protecting all of us as a police officer. Sean was more than a police officer to us, though. He was a caring, fun, loyal, and protective brother and son,’’ the family said in a statement that also thanked the law enforcement community and people in the region as a whole.

“While today’s verdict can never bring Sean back, we are thankful that Dzhokar Tsarnaev will be held accountable for the evil that he brought to so many families,’’ the family said. “We want to say how much we care for the victims and survivors of this senseless tragedy and their families. The strength and bond that everyone has shown during these last two years proves that if these terrorists thought that they would somehow strike fear in the hearts of people, they monumentally failed. We know Sean would be very proud of that.’’

Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans, who finished the Marathon in 2013 as a runner, then returned to help direct the public safety response, was in the courthouse sitting a few feet from Tsarnaev when the verdicts were read.

“He had his back to me so I didn’t really get the opportunity to see his facial expression,’’ Evans said in a telephone interview. “But I couldn’t help but think about all the evil he has committed, all the lives he destroyed forever and how someone could be so destructive.’’

He said his primary concern was the survivors and the relatives of those killed.

“I think today was all about their getting some sense of satisfaction, some sense of closure coming from knowing the person that committed such a malicious act was held accountable,’’ he said.

Both in opening statements in early March and in closing arguments earlier this week, Tsarnaev’s lawyers acknowledged that he took part in the crimes, though they sought to place blame on the older brother. They argued that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the one who radicalized his adolescent brother and pressured him into carrying out the attacks.

The lawyers plan to flesh out that theory for jurors as they try to save him from the death penalty in the sentencing phase of the trial, which could take several weeks. If the jury does not unanimously vote for the death penalty, Tsarnaev will get life without parole.

Jurors heard 95 witnesses over 16 days, who told the story of the bombing and the carnage it had wrought near the finish line and the massive manhunt that followed. Jurors also heard about the case’s wild denouement.

Several days after the bombing, the Tsarnaevs, on their way to New York with a load of homemade bombs, killed Collier in a failed effort to get his gun, then carjacked a young Chinese entrepreneur before heading to Watertown, where they were confronted by police.

In the Watertown firefight, the Tsarnaev brothers threw pipe bombs and a pressure cooker bomb at police. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed after a struggle with police officers and after his younger brother struck him with the entrepreneur’s stolen SUV and dragged him for roughly 30 feet.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drove a half-mile away before abandoning the SUV. He was found more than 17 hours later hiding in a winterized boat in Watertown. His arrest came as a relief to an area that had felt under siege during the bombings and subsequent manhunt.

Prosecutors said Tsarnaev had become radicalized by consuming materials from the Internet and struck on behalf of Muslims who had been killed by US forces overseas. “He was making a statement. An eye for an eye. You kill us, we kill you. That’s what he read, that’s what he said, and that’s what he did,” Assistant US Attorney Aloke Chakravarty said in Monday’s closing arguments.

Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen, had immigrated to the United States as a small child and had won US citizenship on Sept. 11, 2012.

Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time of the attack, had been captain of the wrestling team at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. He was going to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he was a high-volume marijuana dealer. Prosecutors said he led a double life, appearing to be an easygoing teenager, while hiding his growing radicalism.

His influences included Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, prosecutors said.

The attack on men, women, and children gathering at a beloved event in the middle of a major American city shook the region to its core and made headlines around the world.

People in the Boston area and beyond rallied together after the attacks, expressing sympathy and support for the victims. The phrase “Boston Strong” was coined to express the region’s resilience in the face of the bombings. Tens of millions of dollars were raised to aid the bombing victims. In a visit to the city, President Obama reassured residents, saying America supported them. “Every one of us stands with you,” he said.

At the same time, the bombing sparked investigations into whether authorities could have somehow prevented the attacks and whether authorities had made mistakes in responding to them.

Standing outside the federal courthouse in Boston, Karen Brassard, who was injured by shrapnel from one of the bombs, said, “We are all aware that this is a process that is not going to be over soon, it’s probably going to take many years. But it will be good to have this behind us. One more piece of the puzzle will be done.’’

Brassard dismissed the defense argument that Tsarnaev was pulled into the terror plot by his domineering older brother.

“He was all in,” Brassard said. “He was a grown man knowing what the outcome might be and knowing what the consequence might be.’’

Asked whether she believed justice had been done, she replied, “I don’t know what justice is. I am grateful to have this man off the street.’’

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh issued a statement, saying, “I am thankful that this phase of the trial has come to an end and am hopeful for a swift sentencing process.”

“I hope today’s verdict provides a small amount of closure for the survivors, families, and all impacted by the violent and tragic events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon. The incidents of those days have forever left a mark on our City. As we remember those who lost so much, we reflect on how tragedy revealed our deepest values, and the best of who we are as a community,” said Walsh, who succeeded the late mayor Thomas M. Menino, who led the city during the Marathon attack.

0 Response to "Tsarnaev guilty in Marathon bombings"

Posting Komentar