Jurors who will decide whether Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death were ordered by a federal judge today not to attend next week’s Boston Marathon or participate in any events marking the two-year anniversary of the “crime the defendant now stands convicted of.”
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U.S. District Court Justice George O’Toole held a brief hearing this morning in the same courtroom where Tsarnaev was convicted earlier this month in a 30-count federal indictment on charges including murder and using a weapon of mass destruction.
“As you know, the Boston Marathon is not just a matter of local but of national and international interest,” O’Toole told the jurors, who were the same as those who convicted Tsarnaev. “Do not attend the Boston Marathon.”
O’Toole told the jurors that the penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial, which is scheduled to begin a day after the 119th running of the historic Boston Marathon on Monday, should last roughly four weeks.
Wednesday marks two years since Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan detonated two powerful pressure cooker bombs secreted in backpacks near the finish line of the marathon in 2013. Three people, 8-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Boston University student Lingzi Lu; and 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Marie Campbell, were killed. Another 17 people lost limbs and more than 240 others were hurt and maimed, according to testimony in Tsarnaev’s trial.
On April 18, 2013, in the hours after the FBI released photos of the bombing suspects to the public, the Tsarnaev brothers launched a two-day crime spree during which they executed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, carjacked and terrorized a young businessman, and engaged police in a bomb and bullet battle on leafy suburban street in Watertown.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in the firefight. The younger Tsarnaev, then 19-year-old Dzhokhar, fled the scene and hid in a dry-docked boat, wounded and bleeding. Before he was captured, he scrawled an anti-American screed with a bloody pencil, carving in part, “stop killing our innocent people and we will stop” on a wooden plank.
Defense attorneys have argued that Tsarnaev came under the influence of his older brother. In closing arguments Judy Clarke told jurors that she plans to prove with evidence presented in the case “that Tamerlan built the bombs, Tamerlan murdered Officer Collier, Tamerlan led and Dzhokhar followed.”
Prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty told jurors that the younger Tsarnaev was just as radicalized as his older brother, dedicated to the bloodletting of Americans -- only Dzhokhar was better at hiding it.
“Unlike Tamerlan, the defendant had led a double life,” Chakravarty said. “To the outside world he showed one face and inside he harbored another.”