Yesterday, a US federal court of appeals overturned the death penalty sentence of convicted ‘Boston Marathon Bomber’ Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (pictured above).
Tsarnaev, now 27 years old, was originally sentenced after being convicted of planting homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line with with his late brother Tamerlin on April 15, 2013. The incident had killed three people and injured 260.
The court also ruled that Tsarnaev will face double jeopardy now – scheduled to be given a new ‘penalty phase trial’ with a new set of jurors who will again decide if he should receive the death penalty.
According to the legal opinion put forward by the appeals judges, the previous court who oversaw Tsarnaev’s trial failed to question jurors sufficiently as to identify their bias and the fact they may have been tainted by the barrage of mainstream media coverage on the issue, thus “providing sufficient ground to vacate his death sentences.”
The appeal’s decision also cited the fact that Tsarnaev’s legal team had asked for a change of venue to a courthouse which wasn’t so close to the site of the bombing near downtown Boston.
Federal Judge Torruella remarked, “I have never borne witness to a case with pretrial publicity more ‘extreme’ or ‘extraordinary’ than this one.”
Judge Torruella writes separately to say that holding the trial in Boston was improper and prejudiced the death sentence. pic.twitter.com/2OyTmUhfAJ
— Matthew Segal (@segalmr) July 31, 2020
A US Circuit Court appeals Judge has set aside three of his 30 convictions – that Tsarnaev was carrying a firearm in connection with his possession of a pressure cooker bomb. However, the judge stated that he will likely remain in federal prison for the rest of his life.
Tsarnaev’s legal team did file a post-trial motion for judgments of acquittal on his convictions, but was summarily denied by a district court judge.
He is currently being held at the nation’s most secure federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.
Tsarnaev was convicted in 2015 for the deaths of Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, and Lingzi Lu, and police officer Sean Collier.
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