The jurors’ 24-page verdict form in the death-penalty trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sent one clear message, reports the Boston Globe: The defense team's narrative about why this lanky, expressionless defendant deserved sympathy did not ring true. During 14½ hours of deliberations, the jury rejected each of four key aspects of the defense case. The panel did not agree that Tsarnaev came under the domination of an older brother, that he was largely neglected by troubled parents, and that the nation’s toughest high-security prison would prevent him from achieving future fame.
And in what may have been pivotal in the jury's decision, the panel rejected the defense contention that Tsarnaev was remorseful. He showed little emotion throughout the trial, even when some victims with prosthetic legs testified about multiple surgeries they have endured, or BB's still lodged in their bodies. “His lack of remorse sealed his fate,” said George Vien, a former federal prosecutor with death-penalty expertise. The verdict form shows how jurors voted on dozens of “aggravating” factors cited by the government to justify the death penalty and “mitigating” factors listed by the defense to ask for a sentence of life in prison without parole. U.S. District Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. will impose the sentence at a hearing where Tsarnaev's victims will be able to confront him. Tsarnaev will also have the option of addressing the court.
The death penalty trial was imposed by the federal government against the wishes of the state, Politico reports. By a wide majority, Massachusetts citizens opposed the ultimate punishment for Tsarnaev. So did some of the victims. The jury's verdict will bring little measure of closure. Rather than Tsarnaev’s disappearing anonymously behind bars, his case will be appealed and fought. Death by execution, if it ever comes, may be decades away. The last executions in Massachusetts were in 1947.