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It took jurors just 14 hours to determine Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserved the death penalty for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The same jury convicted Tsarnaev last month on all 30 counts relating to the fatal bombing, 17 of which carried the death penalty.
Tsarnaev's death penalty trial was split into two phases: the guilt phase and the penalty phase. Jurors deliberated for just over a day before determining Tsarnaev's guilt, and their verdict today was almost as quick.
The sentencing phase of Tsarnaev's trial began on April 21st, with federal prosecutors again bringing evidence of the destructiveness of the bombing, which killed three people and injured over 240 more. In arguing against the death penalty, Tsarnaev's attorneys alleged he was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, and put on several character witnesses who testified to Dzhokhar's good nature.
After over four weeks of sentencing testimony, the jury found evidence for several gateway factors for the death penalty: that Tsarnaev intentionally killed, caused bodily injury, used lethal force, and used violence with a grave risk of death. They also found Tsarnaev guilty of distinct aggravating factors such as using a weapon of mass destruction, the depraved, cruel manner of crime, his premeditation and planning, and intentionally killing more than one person.
The jury also said Tsarnaev demonstrated a lack of remorse.
Only three jurors felt that Tsarnaev was under the influence or control of his older brother, which the defense had argued as a mitigating factor against the death penalty. And just one juror felt it was highly unlikely he would commit or incite acts of violence if he was sentenced to life in federal prison.
Death penalty verdicts must be unanimous, and in the end it took less than two days for all twelve jury members to decide that Tsarnaev should be executed for his crimes. The execution is set to take place by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana, but with the appeals process ahead, a date is unknown.
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