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Boston Marathon bomber: US again to seek death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Reuters/Boston, United States
Filed on August 21, 2020
us attorney general, william barr, appeals court, death penalty, boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this file handout photo presented as evidence by the US Attorney's Office in Boston, Massachusetts on March 23, 2015.

(Reuters)

Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan detonated two homemade bombs at the marathon's finish line in 2013.

US Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday the Justice Department would ask an appeals court to reconsider its decision to overturn Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentence for helping carry out the 2013 attack, which killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Barr said the department was prepared to take the matter to the US Supreme Court, after the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals on July 31 ordered a new trial over Tsarnaev's sentence.

"We will do whatever's necessary," Barr said, according to the AP. "We will take it up to the Supreme Court and we will continue to pursue the death penalty."

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec confirmed the AP report of Barr's comments in an email to Reuters. A lawyer for Tsarnaev declined comment.

The appellate court concluded that a trial judge "fell short" in conducting the jury selection process and screening jurors for potential bias following pretrial publicity.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet on August 2 that the federal government should again seek the death penalty for Tsarnaev, 27.

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, sparked five days of panic in Boston on April 15, 2013, when they detonated two homemade pressure cooker bombs at the marathon's finish line and then tried to flee the city.

In the days that followed, they also killed a police officer. Tsarnaev's brother died after a gunfight with police.

A federal jury in 2015 found Tsarnaev guilty of all 30 counts he faced and later determined he deserved execution for a bomb he planted that killed 8-year-old Martin Richard and 23-year-old Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu. Restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, was also killed.

Tsarnaev's lawyers argued on appeal that the case should not have been tried in Boston, where potential jurors were exposed to heart-wrenching, wall-to-wall media coverage of the attacks.


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