Boston bomber sentenced to death!

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Jon Sopel looks at the background to the case
A US jury has sentenced Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death by lethal injection.

After 14 hours of deliberation, the jury of five men and seven women came to its decision.

Three people were killed and 260 were injured when Tsarnaev, now 21, and his brother placed bombs at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Victims and their family members sobbed as the sentence was read. Tsarnaev bowed his head but showed no emotion.

Jurors made findings on 12 factors that would support the death penalty and 21 mitigating factors his defence said supported a life in prison verdict.

The jury’s decision had to be unanimous Tsarnaev to receive a death sentence.

Seven of the 30 charges Tsarnaev was convicted of carried a possible death penalty. They included use weapon of mass destruction and bombing of a public place.

After the sentence was announced, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: “The ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime and we hope that the completion of this prosecution will bring some measure of closure to the victims and their families.”

Tsarnaev is likely to be moved to a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, to await execution by lethal injection.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were captured in photos on the day of the bombing
However years of appeals are likely. Defence lawyers had sought to have the case moved from Boston, Massachusetts, where they said a fair trial was impossible.

Tsarnaev’s defence team had admitted he played a role in the attacks but said that his older brother, Tamerlan – shot dead by police in the subsequent manhunt – was the driving force.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died days after the bombings following a shootout with police. A police officer was killed during the manhunt.

The defence emphasised the young age of Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time of the attacks.

Lawyers also highlighted his difficult early life. The Tsarnaevs – ethnic Chechens – had lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the volatile Dagestan region of Russia, near Chechnya. The family moved to the US in 2002.

The victims

• 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

What is your reaction to the verdict? You can email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. If you are happy to speak further to a BBC journalist, please include a contact telephone number when emailing us your details.

BBC © 2015

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