The Justice Department will seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is charged with killing three people and injuring more than 200 others at the Boston Marathon in April, the Washington Post reported today. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement ends months of speculation. If Holder had sought life in prison, it might have fueled Republicans attacks that the Obama administration is soft on terrorism.
Tsarnaev, 20, and his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police. is accused of constructing and setting off homemade bombs near the finish line of the marathon. Tsarnaev faces 30 counts in the bombing, including use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and the bombing of a public place. He is also accused of the murder of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer in the days after the bombing. Since 1964, the federal government has only executed three people, including Timothy McVeigh who was convicted in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.