Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of two asylum-seeking brothers who blew up the Boston Marathon, just had his death sentence overturned by a U.S. Appeals Court. Dzhokhar’s lawyers argued that the terrorist himself was a victim of intense media coverage and an unfair jury trial. The attack on the 2013 Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded around 280 others. Many of the victims lost limbs and suffered other horrific injuries.
“A core promise of our criminal-justice system is that even the very worst among us deserve to be fairly tried and lawfully punished,” reads the federal appeals court ruling vacating Dzhokhar’s death sentence.
In 2015, a jury found Dzhokhar guilty on all 30 charges against him and sentenced the bomber to death. But because Dzhokhar had destroyed the lives of so many Bostonians, his defense attorneys have successfully argued that his death sentence was unfair because the trial should have been moved to a different city — presumably a city where Dzhokhar didn’t kill people. Dzhokhar told investigators that he and his brother’s next target was planned for New York City’s Times Square
Dzhokhar’s brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police a few days after the attack, so no worries about his death sentence being overturned anytime soon. Dzhokhar lawyers maintain that Tamerlan was the real mastermind behind the attack.
The three-judge panel also reversed three convictions against Dzhokhar related to his possession of a firearm and ordered the empaneling of a new jury trial to redecide the penalty phase for Dzhokhar’s death-eligible convictions.
“Dzhokhar will remain confined to prison for the rest of his life, with the only question remaining being whether the government will end his life by executing him,” the judges wrote in their decision.
Dzhokar is currently behind bars at a high-security supermax prison in Colorado.