Boston bomber formally sentenced to death by execution

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2014, courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sits in federal court in Boston for a final hearing before his trial begins in January. More than 30 victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and their family members are expected to describe the attack’s impact on their lives before a judge formally sentences Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death. Tsarnaev’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in U.S. District Court. (Jane Flavell Collins via AP, File)

BOSTON (AP/WPRI) — A judge formally sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to die Wednesday, but not before he apologized for bombing the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done — irreparable damage,” the 21-year-old college student said, breaking more than two years of public silence.

To the victims, he said: “I pray for your relief, for your healing.”

In May, a federal jury condemned Tsarnaev to die for carrying out the attack with his brother. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when the brothers detonated two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line.

While addressing the court, Tsarnaev admitted that he and his brother were responsible for the bombing. He thanked Allah and his attorneys, asking Allah to have mercy on him, his brother, and his family.

After Tsarnaev said his piece, U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr. quoted Shakespeare’s line about “The evil that men do lives after them” and told Tsarnaev that no one will remember that his teachers were fond of him, that his friends found him fun to be with or that he showed compassion to disabled people.

“What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people, and that you did it willfully and intentionally. You did it on purpose,” O’Toole said.

“I sentence you to the penalty of death by execution,” he said.

Tsarnaev looked down and rubbed his hands together as the judge pronounced his fate.

The apology came after Tsarnaev listened impassively for about three hours as a procession of victims and their loved ones lashed out at him for his “cowardly” and “disgusting” acts.

His actions are no less than treason against the United States of America.” — Dic Donohue

The family of Krystle Campbell was first to address the court Wednesday.

“I don’t know what to say to you,” said her mother, Patricia Campbell. “But I think the jury did the right thing.”

The sister of Sean Collier expressed how the convicted Marathon bomber not only took away her brother’s life, but in a way her own, as well. She called him a leech, who spit in the face of the American dream.

Among those that were against the death penalty included the Richard family. Although, they still expressed their disgust after enduring the loss of their 8-year-old son Martin Richard and their then 6-year-old daughter Jane, who lost her leg.

Among those expected to speak are Rebekah Gregory, a Texas woman who lost a leg in the bombings, and Liz Norden, the mother of two Massachusetts men who each lost a leg.

Tsarnaev was convicted of 30 federal charges for planning and carrying out the terror attack with his older brother, Tamerlan. Days after the bombings, in the midst of a massive manhunt, the brothers killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer and engaged in a wild gun battle with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown. Tamerlan died after being shot by police and run over by Dzhokhar as the younger brother escaped in a stolen car.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers admitted he participated in the bombings, but argued that Tamerlan was the driving force behind the attack.

In a note he scrawled in a boat he was found hiding in, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said the attack was meant to retaliate against the U.S. for its actions in Muslim countries.

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