The Justice Department wants the US Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, saying the horrific nature of his crime warrants a more “just conclusion.”
The Justice Department wrote in court documents filed Monday that the appellate court had erred when tossing Tsarnaev’s death sentence last July due to jury selection concerns in the attack that killed three people and injured 260 others in April 2013.
“The jury carefully considered each of the respondent’s crime and determined that capital punishment was warranted for the horrors that he personally inflicted — setting down a shrapnel bomb in a crowd and detonating it, killing a child and a promising young student, and consigning several others to a ‘lifetime of unimaginable suffering,’” Justice Department attorneys wrote in a 48-page brief.
The ruling by the jurors “deserves respect and reinstatement” by the nation’s highest court, attorneys for President Biden’s administration said despite his public opposition to the death penalty.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr told the Associated Press last year that the administration of President Donald Trump would do “whatever’s necessary” to reinstate Tsarnaev’s death penalty.
Trump tweeted in August 2020 that “rarely has anybody” deserved capital punishment more than Tsarnaev, who was convicted of carrying out the horrific attack with his older brother, Tamerlan, who died during a shootout with cops.
Attorneys for Tsarnaev, meanwhile, want the former Cambridge, Massachusetts, man to spend the rest of his life in federal prison. They claim Tamerlan Tsarnaev emotionally dominated his younger brother into terrorist activity, the Boston Globe reported.
Jurors would not have approved the death penalty if they had a fuller picture of that relationship, Tsarnaev’s attorneys reportedly claim.
Biden, meanwhile, called for the elimination of the death penalty during his presidential campaign. His Department of Justice, however, said the evidence clearly shows that Dzhokhar acted independently when he and Tamerlan detonated two pressure-cooker bombs just seconds apart near the marathon’s finish line.
The Justice Department alleges Dzhokhar also acted independently when kidnapping a gas station worker in Cambridge and helped his brother murder Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier days later as they were found in nearby Watertown.
During an ensuing standoff with police, Dzokhar drove a Mercedes SUV he and brother carjacked and ran over Tamerlan as he fled. His older brother died from injuries at the scene, federal authorities have said.
Dzokhar was arrested the following day while hiding in a boat in Watertown.
Dzokhar Tsarneav remains in custody at a high-security supermax prison in Colorado. The Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case in March, is expected to hear oral arguments this fall, the Globe reported.
Tsarnaev’s multiple life sentences, however, still stand, meaning he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison regardless of the high court’s ruling.
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