Tsarnaev guilty on all counts; eligible for death penalty
(WCVB.COM) BOSTON, Mass. – Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is guilty of all counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and charges relating to the deaths of all four victims, a federal jury said Wednesday.
Seventeen of the 30 guilty verdicts make him eligible for the death penalty.
It took the jury about 12 hours to decide Tsarnaev’s guilt in the April 15, 2013, bombing near the Boston Marathon finish line that killed three people — Martin Richard, 8; Lingzi Lu, 23, a Chinese graduate student at Boston University; and Krystle Campbell, 29, a restaurant manager — and wounded more than 260. He was also charged in the ambush death of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier a few days later.
Counts one through 10 and counts 12 through 18 each individually carry a possible punishment of death. He was found guilty on each of those 17 counts in the 30-count indictment.
As the clerk started to read the guilty verdicts, Tsarnaev kept his hands folded in front of him and looked down at the defense table. After about 20 guilty verdicts were read, the 21-year-old stood with his arms crossed.
Denise Richard, the mother of Martin, wiped tears from her face after the verdict was read, and the boy’s father, Bill Richard, embraced one of the prosecutors.
In the trial’s next phase, which could begin as early as Monday, the same jury will hear evidence on whether Tsarnaev should get the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in prison.
Defense lawyers said Tsarnaev conspired with his brother to bomb the marathon, but maintained the elder Tsarnaev was the plot’s mastermind. Defense attorney Judy Clarke said it was Tamerlan Tsranaev who bought the bomb parts, built the bombs and planned the attack.
“If not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened,” Clarke said.
Federal prosecutors said the brothers wanted to punish America for its wars in Muslim countries.
“This was a cold, calculated terrorist act. This was intentional. It was bloodthirsty. It was to make a point,” Aloke Chakravarty said. “It was to tell America that ‘We will not be terrorized by you anymore. We will terrorize you.’”
During closings, prosecutors recalled for the jury the horror of that day with photographs and video of the carnage after the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs detonated. In one video, jurors could hear the agonizing screams of Campbell as she bled to death on the sidewalk.
“That day, they felt they were soldiers. They were the mujahedeen, and they were bringing their battle to Boston,” Chakravarty said.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died four days after the bombings after he was shot by police in Watertown and run over by his brother in a getaway attempt.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hours later when he was found hiding in a boat in a Watertown yard.