The First Circuit Court of Appeals tossed the death penalty of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving brother of the Boston Marathon Bomber. The court ordered a new penalty phase of the trial, and specifically told the court:
“Make no mistake: Dzhokhar will spend his remaining days locked up in prison, with the only matter remaining being whether he will die by execution.” Circuit Court Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson
NEW: Boston Globe: A federal appeals court has tossed the death penalty handed down to Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and ordered a new penalty phase trial. https://t.co/hwbxpyaMWV via @TAGlobe
— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) July 31, 2020
U.S. Circuit Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson, writing for the court, said the trial judge “fell short” in conducting the jury selection process and ensuring it could winnow out partial jurors exposed to pretrial publicity surrounding the high-profile case.
Thompson said the pervasive news coverage of the bombings and their aftermath featured “bone-chilling” photos and videos of Tsarnaev, now 27, and his brother carrying backpacks at the marathon and of those injured and killed near its finish line.
The trial judge allowed his jury to include jurors who had “already formed an opinion that Dzhokhar was guilty – and he did so in large part because they answered ‘yes’ to the question whether they could decide this high-profile case based on the evidence.”
The Boston Marathon Bomber
On April 15, 2013, Dzhokhar and his brother Tamerlan detonated two pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The result: 3 people killed, 17 lost limbs, and over 200 others were injured. He and his brother attempted to go into hiding, but 3 nights later they carjacked a vehicle, killed a police officer, shooting him 8 times as he sat in his car. Tamerlan died after his brother ran over him in an effort to get away and dragged his body for a short distance.
Dzhokhar tried to hide in a neighborhood in Watertown, MA, which triggered a house to house search, lockdown of Boston and surrounding communities. It was a massive law enforcement response. He was finally found hiding in a boat on a property.
He was found guilty on April 8, 2015.
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