BOSTON (Reuters) - The jury that will hear the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was selected on Tuesday on the eve of opening statements.
Tsarnaev, 21, is charged with killing three people and injuring 264 with a pair of homemade bombs at the race's crowded finish line on April 15, 2013, and with fatally shooting a police officer three days later. If he is found guilty, the jury selected on Tuesday will determine whether to sentence him to death.
The all-white panel included 10 women and eight men, 12 of whom will vote on Tsarnaev's fate at the end of a trial expected to wrap up in June. Six will serve as alternates.
The jury selection process began in early January when more than 1,350 potential jurors filled out questionnaires on their ties to the attack and their views on the death penalty. To be eligible to serve, candidates needed not to have formed a set opinion of Tsarnaev's guilt and to be willing to consider voting for execution if he was found guilty.
Tsarnaev's lawyers last week asserted that the court had violated its own procedures about random selection, reordering jurors as they arrived in a way that reduced the number of black candidates questioned.
Tsarnaev's attorneys on Monday offered a possible glimpse into their strategy when they argued that they need to be able to discuss the defendant's relationship with his older brother, Tamerlan, early in the trial.
They described 26-year-old Tamerlan, who died following a gun battle with police three days after the bombing, as the driving force behind the attack, saying that his younger brother participated out of submissiveness.