On Thursday, attorneys for 2013 Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston that their client’s death sentence should be overturned because his trial two years after the bombing should not have taken place in Boston.
In their legal brief, the lawyers wrote, “This case should not have been tried in Boston. Tsarnaev admitted heinous crimes, but even so — perhaps especially so — this trial demanded scrupulous adherence to the requirements of the Constitution and federal law. Again and again this trial fell short.” CNN reported, that in their motion, the lawyers write, “Fresh proceedings — in an unaffected community, before honest and unbiased jurors, who know that the bombings were [Dzhokar’s] first violent crimes but not Tamerlan’s — present a real prospect of a different outcome. This verdict is unworthy of confidence and this Court should reverse.”
In the bombings, which occurred April 15, 2013, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan used two homemade pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the race, killing three people and injuring several hundred others. 16 people lost limbs as a result of the bombings. During the manhunt for the brothers, the brothers killed MIT policeman Sean A. Collier, kidnapped a man in his car, and had a shootout with the police in Watertown, where they shot and severely wounded two officers, one of whom, Boston Police Department officer Dennis Simmonds, was injured by a hand grenade and died in April 2014.
As The New York Times reported, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said he and his brother were motivated by radical Islamic beliefs. He added that the brothers learned to build explosive devices from the online magazine of Al Qaeada and admitted they had plans to bomb Times Square.
Tsarnaev´s lawyers cited the foreman for the jury, who retweeted a post after Tsarnaev’s arrest reading, “Congratulations to all of the law enforcement professionals who worked so hard and went through hell to bring in that piece of garbage.” The foreman had also tweeted about her family´s experience as they tried to find a safe during the hunt for the bombers, according to the attorneys. Another juror was urged in social media posts by others to “play the part” so he could get on the jury, The Daily Mail reported.
The attorneys for Tsarnaev wanted to portray Tsarnaev as being manipulated by Tamerlan, who was killed in a gun battle with police soon after the bombings. Prosecutors pointed out that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had no qualms about placing his bomb behind children: one of the people murdered was 8-year-old Martin Richard.
As USA Today reported, after the verdict was announced, Edward Deveau, chief of police in Watertown, MA, whose officers engaged with the Tsarnaevs, who used gunfire and hurled homemade bombs, asserted, “There’s been a lot of criticism of police officers around the country lately, but your local police department is out there fighting for you every day,” adding Watertown “officers put their lives on the line to protect that community and make sure these terrorists didn’t go down to New York City and kill more people.” He added that it was the survivors who needed attention, concluding, “Those two brothers: we won’t think about them anymore.”
Other statements after the verdict was announced included Michael Ward, an off-duty firefighter who helped victims on the day of the attacks. Ward stated, “I remember when those bombs went off; I remember when the vile disgusting thing that this person did and his brother. They destroyed countless innocent lives, destroyed bodies and parts. Very vivid memories for many people and many families … This is nothing to celebrate; this is a matter of justice. His premeditated actions, to stand behind children, wait four-and-a-half minutes with a fully loaded bomb and then to call his brother and tell him when to explode his bomb moments earlier … His justice now. He wanted to go to hell and he’s gonna get there early.”
Karen Brassard, a victim in the bombing, said, “I want to thank the jury for an unbelievably difficult thing that they’ve gone through; for weeks they’ve had to endure photographs, and testimony, and things that have been beyond anything anyone should have to see, and not only did they have to endure that but they had to do that silently, not being able to lean on any of their family members or even each other.
Liz Norden, the mother of two victims, added, “I have to watch my two sons put a leg on every day so I mean, I don’t know, closure? I can tell you it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, so I think there is some form of good feeling.”