A federal grand jury sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday, more than two years after he and deceased older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev set off explosives that killed three and injured hundreds at the race’s finish line. The jury, which consisted of seven women and five men, announced their decision after three days of deliberations in the trial's penalty phase.
Tsarnaev, 21, faced either the death penalty or life in prison with the possibility of parole after the same jurors convicted him in April on 30 federal charges, 17 of which were punishable by execution, the New York Times reports. He will be the first federally convicted terrorist to be sentenced to death since Timothy McVeigh, the man who killed 168 people with explosives in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was executed in 2001.
Though the jury's verdict was announced Friday, Tsarnaev will not be formally sentenced until later this summer, Yahoo News correspondent Holly Bailey reports. Both Tsarnaev and attending victims of the Boston bombing were permitted to speak at the sentencing hearing, if they desired.
The Tsarnaev brothers detonated a pair of homemade pressure-cooker explosives on Bolyston Street in Boston on April 15, 2013. More than 260 bystanders were injured in the resulting blasts, and three people were killed. Local authorities engaged in a massive, days-long manhunt to catch the culprits. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was fatally shot in an April 19, 2013 confrontation with police in Waterton, Massachusetts. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found bloodied the next day while hiding in a nearby boat.
During the penalty phrase, the jury heard testimony from several of the bombing's survivors, as well as family members of those who died in the attack, Reuters reports. Defense lawyers depicted Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the mastermind of the Boston Marathon bombing, arguing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev idolized his older brother and was merely following his lead. Prosecutors posited Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been radicalized and sought to attack Americans as revenge for the United States' military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.