Boston Marathon bomber found guilty

The man accused of bombing the Boston Marathon in 2013 has been found guilty of all 30 charges that he faced, many of which carry the death penalty.

The jury in Massachusetts will now decide what sentence 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will receive.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when the bombs exploded at the finish line in April 2013.

His lawyers maintained he played a role in the attacks but said his older brother was the driving force.

A police officer was killed in the days following the attack as Tsarnaev and his brother, who also died, attempted to flee.

The decision was reached on Wednesday, after the jury deliberated for just over 12 hours spread over two days.

Tsarnaev kept his hands folded in front of him and looked down as the guilty verdicts were read.

Nearby, the mother of one victim, eight-year-old Martin Richard, wiped tears from her face after the verdict was read. Richard’s father embraced one of the prosecutors.

line

The victims

From left: Krystle Campbell Lu Lingzi and Martin Richard
  • restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, had gone to watch a friend complete the race
  • Chinese graduate student Lu Lingzi was studying statistics at Boston University
  • eight-year-old Martin Richard was standing with his family, cheering the runners

Victims’ profiles in full

line

The governor of Massachusetts welcomed the verdict, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said: “I hope today’s verdict provides a small amount of closure”.

The family of Officer Sean Collier, who was killed days after the attack, said: “While today’s verdict can never bring Sean back, we are thankful that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be held accountable for the evil that he brought to so many families.”

The conviction was widely expected because Tsarnaev’s chief lawyer, Judy Clarke, made the surprise admission during opening statements that he took part in the bombing.

That admission was part of a defence strategy to paint Tsarnaev’s elder brother, Tamerlan, as the mastermind of the attack who influenced Tsarnaev into participating.

Prosecutors portrayed them as equal partners in a plan to “punish America” for wars in Muslim countries.

Among the most damning evidence was a video that showed Tsarnaev placing a backpack bomb near to Martin Richard, and a statement scrawled inside the boat where he was found hiding days after the attack.

“Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop,” he wrote, as he lay wounded and bleeding inside the dry-docked boat in suburban garden.

The jury was also shown a surveillance video of Tsarnaev casually purchasing milk at a nearby supermarket less than 30 minutes after the bombs wreaked carnage at the finish line.

line

At the scene: Tara McKelvey, BBC News

A court official warned against emotional outbursts as the verdict was read.

“There is to be no reactions,” he told people in the room. “Maintain complete silence.”

People on the government’s side, near the FBI agents and the Watertown, Massachusetts, police chief, had cried as they watched videos of the bombings. Today they were quiet as the verdicts were read: “guilty, guilty, guilty”.

Earlier Tsarnaev had given his lawyer, Judy Clarke, a half-fist-bump. She didn’t return it. This afternoon he was more subdued. He stood and paid close attention as the verdicts were read, occasionally rocking from side to side. He put his hands in his pockets then took them out quickly. He has long lashes, and he blinked a lot. When he was led out of the room, he walked quickly, as before, but his step was less springy.

line

The jury will now have to decide whether Tsarnaev faces the death penalty as the trial moves into its second phase, which could begin as early as Monday.

Tsarnaev is an ethnic Chechen. His family moved to the US about a decade before the bombings.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here