Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man charged with the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, has been found guilty of at least two-thirds of the 30 charges he faced. The guilty verdicts mean he is eligible for the death penalty.
The 21-year-old needed to be found guilty of only one of the 17 capital charges to be eligible for the death penalty.
Tsarnaev’s trial began in Boston on March 4 after weather delays in February, with 17 days of testimony over the course of four weeks. Defense attorneys had requested that the trial be moved outside of Boston to the western Massachusetts city of Springfield, to New York City or to Washington, DC, claiming the juror pool in Boston was already biased against their client.
During deliberations Tuesday afternoon, the jury submitted two questions to US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. One question was whether “conspiracy” can be a distinct event or something that takes place over a longer period, which O’Toole told them was something that they had to determine, the New York Times reported.
The other question was about the difference between “aiding” and “abetting.” The judge told jurors that aiding and abetting is a single concept about helping someone commit a crime.
O’Toole also told jurors that, if they find Tsarnaev guilty of three specific counts of the 30 he was charged with, they must also unanimously decide whether the actions described in those three counts resulted in the deaths of each of three marathon bombing victims as well as the death of the MIT police officer.
On April 15, 2013 twin blasts, 12 seconds apart, rocked the finish line of the storied Boston Marathon. Over 170 people were injured, with three killed, including an eight-year-old boy. Four days later, in the early morning hours, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed and a man was carjacked, leading law enforcement on a manhunt from Cambridge, Massachusetts to the nearby suburb of Watertown.
Tsarnaev’s lawyer, Judy Clarke, has acknowledged that her client “fully participated” in the bombing, conceding that it was her client shown in surveillance footage leaving behind a bomb hidden in a backpack.
By that point, officials had identified the two suspects as Tsarnaev, then 19, and his older brother Tamerlan, 26.
In Watertown, the suspects engaged in a firefight with law enforcement, during which time Tamerlan was killed. The area was placed on lockdown as SWAT teams from multiple local and federal jurisdictions searched for the surviving brother. He was eventually found hiding in a boat on a resident’s property.