What We Know So Far
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted of all 30 charges for the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing — the worst domestic terrorism attack since Sept. 11, killing three people at the scene and injuring 260 others. A fourth person, a police officer, later died in a shoot-out.
A bombing survivor speaking on behalf of the victims said they were "obviously grateful for the outcome today."
The trial now goes into the sentencing phase, in which the jury could decide that Tsarnaev will be sentenced to die.
Tsarnaev was found guilty of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. He's also been found guilty in the deaths of Krystle Campbell, Officer Sean Collier, Lingzi Lu, and Martin Richard.
Defense attorneys during the trial directly said "He did this" and "It was him." Tsarnaev's lawyers have been more focused on saving him from the death penalty, mainly by arguing he was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, who died during the attacks.
A jury of seven women and five men decided his fate.
U.S. v. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is the most high-profile federal terrorism trial in the United States since Timothy McVeigh was tried for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1997.
The MBTA cop shot during the Boston Marathon attacks told BuzzFeed News that he expected Dzohkhar Tsarnaev to be found guilty on all 30 counts.
After the conviction of Tsarnaev on all 30 counts related to the Boston Marathon bombing was announced Wednesday, Richard "Dic" Donohue, a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer who was shot during the attacks, told BuzzFeed News that the verdict was both expected and a relief.
"If it had gone any differently, I would have been floored," he said.
United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz released a statement on the guilty verdict:
"We are gratified by the jury's verdict and thank everyone who played a role in the trial for their hard work. As we enter this next phase, we are focused on the work that remains to be done. Because the trial is ongoing, it would not be appropriate for me to say more at this time."
Victims and surviving family members of those who were killed in the Boston Marathon bombing applauded a jury's decision on Wednesday to convict Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of all 30 charges.
"We're obviously grateful for the outcome today," said bombing survivor Karen Brassard, who was speaking on behalf of the victims and their families. "It's been difficult, but we've gotten through it together."
A federal jury on Wednesday found Tsarnaev guilty of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction — the top charge — and causing the deaths of Krystle Campbell, Officer Sean Collier, Lingzi Lu, and Martin Richard. The convictions make him eligible for the death penalty.
In a statement, Collier's family said that while the verdict won't bring the "caring, fun, loyal, and protective brother and son" back, they too were thankful that Tsarnaev would be held accountable "for the evil that he brought to so many families."
The family also thanked law enforcement, prosecutors, and the public for their outpouring of support.
Heather Abbott, who lost part of her left leg in the bombing, also thanked everyone who had supported her and other victims over the last two years.
"Nothing can ever replace the lives that were lost or changed forever, but at least there is some relief in knowing that justice is served and responsibility will be taken," she said.
State Police Col. Timothy P. Alben, who coordinated the massive police response in the aftermath of the bombing, said in a statement that thoughts of his entire force were with the "victims, survivors, and families of those maimed by these cowardly acts of terrorism."
"In today's verdict, we hope to turn another page in the recovery and healing of our community," he said. "We are hopeful that in justice, those that have been injured may find some sense of peace."
Speaking about the penalty phase of the trial, Brassard declined to speculate as to what the other victims felt about the possibility of Tsarnaev being sentenced to die, saying it was "a personal thing."
Brassard did say that she and others were expecting the entire court ordeal to be a years-long process. But, she added, at least there was some sense of closure with the verdict.
"It's not something that you'll ever be over, you'll feel it forever," she said, "but we're all going to move on with our lives."
BOSTON — Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty of all 30 charges in the Boston Marathon bombing in federal court on Wednesday. Now the jury will decide if he lives or dies for his crimes.
He's been found guilty of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction – the top charge – and causing the deaths of Krystle Campbell, Officer Sean Collier, Lingzi Lu, and Martin Richard. He was also found guilty of firearms charges connected to bombs that he hurled at police during a standoff.
The jury met for more than 10 hours over two days.
The jury's decision comes two years after the 21-year-old Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, set off two pressure cooker bombs on Boylston Street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. The explosions killed Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and Martin Richard; maimed 17 others who would have limbs amputated; and seriously injured more than 240.
After the marathon attacks, the Tsarnaev brothers went on a four-day tour of carnage that caused a lockdown of the city and surrounding suburbs. Three days after the bombing, the Tsarnaevs ambushed and gunned down MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, carjacked a Mercedes Benz, then engaged police in a gun battle in Watertown, Massachusetts that led to Tamerlan's death when Tsarnaev ran him over with a stolen Mercedes SUV. Tsarnaev was ultimately apprehended in a boat dry-docked in a Watertown backyard just blocks from the scene of the shootout.
Tsarnaev faces the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison without parole when the trial moves to the sentencing phase next week. Seventeen of the 30 charges he was convicted of carry the possibility of the death penalty.
The defense fully expected the guilty verdict; on the first day of the trial, Tsarnaev's attorney, Judy Clarke, said, "he did this" and "it was him."
Tsarnaev's team did little to contest the government's case during the guilt phase of the trial, calling only four witnesses over two days compared to the government's 92 witnesses over 15 days.
"There is no excuse. No one is trying to make one," Clarke said Monday during her closing argument, saying that Tsarnaev is ready "to be held responsible for his actions."
Clarke, a renowned death penalty defense expert, has built her career on convincing juries to spare the lives of reviled criminals facing death. During her over 30-year career, Clarke has represented the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner, and Susan Smith, a South Carolina woman who drowned her two children. All received a sentence of life in prison.
In her closing statement on Monday, Clarke made it clear that her team is playing for the next round of the trial, where she will hope to convince the jurors to spare Tsarnaev's life.
At the end of her closing statement, Clarke said, "We ask you to hold your minds open...in the next phase of this case, you'll hear a lot more."
During the sentencing phase, the defense will present mitigating factors that they believe makes life in prison without parole a more appropriate sentence than death. These factors could include details about Tsarnaev's tumultuous family life, his lack of a criminal record, and questions about how his young age affected his decision-making and the extent of the influence that his older brother held over him.
Instead of making a futile argument for her client's innocence, Clarke used her time Monday to preview this presentation.
Though the government didn't introduce Tsarnaev's tweets as evidence, Clark highlighted the ones that talked about sleep, eating breakfast, rap lyrics, and a TV show on Comedy Central. She reviewed his internet search history — the number one and two most visited sites were Facebook.com and VK.com, the Russian Facebook. "This is a kid doing kid things. This is a teenager doing teenage things," Clarke said.
Clarke focused heavily on the evidence presented that pinned the plot on Tamerlan; for example, she showed the jury receipts for purchases of the pressure cookers and backpacks made by Tamerlan while Dzhokhar was away at college at UMass-Dartmouth, Clarke said.
Clarke also traced the cybermovements of a digital copy of al-Qaeda publication Inspire magazine — a piece of evidence frequently discussed at the trial — which was found on Tsarnaev's computer and contained instructions on how to "Make A Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom." The magazine was mysteriously transferred from Tamerlan's computer to Dzhokhar's on the same day that Tamerlan left for Russia in January 2012.
"If not for Tamerlan, this wouldn't have happened," Clarke said.
During his rebuttal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Weinreb attempted to impress upon the jury that whether Dzhokhar was self-radicalized or radicalized by Tamerlan didn't matter.
"The defendant and his brother were full partners. They are equally guilty," Weinreb said.
"To shred the bodies of women and children, you have to be different than other people," Weinreb said. "Can you really blame it on your brother for giving you some materials to read?"
When the sentencing phase begins, the government will first present the aggravating factors that they believe demand a death sentence.
Those factors could include more grisly details on the heinous nature of the crime and testimony from surviving amputees describing the challenges they will have to deal with going through life with missing limbs.
Other factors that the prosecution will likely discuss include the fact that an 8-year-old child was killed in the attack, a police officer was targeted, and that the ultimate goal of the Tsarnaev brothers was to commit an act of terror against America.
A decision of death must be unanimous, so the defense need only to convince one juror that the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors to get the jury to spare Tsarnaev's life.
Opening statements in the sentencing phase will begin April 13. The prosecution will begin its sentencing phase presentation April 22, two days after the 2015 Boston Marathon.
Jury will convene to announce its verdict shortly.
BOSTON — Jury deliberations in the trial of admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev entered a second day Wednesday.
The jury met for seven hours on Tuesday, but was unable to return a complete verdict by the end of the day.
Before deliberations began, Judge O'Toole brought the jury into the courtroom to answer two questions posed by the jurors at the end of the day Tuesday.
The first question involved the length of the conspiracy to commit the 2013 attacks. The judge informed the jury panel that it is up to them to decide "the scope and duration" of the Tsarnaev brothers' conspiracy based on the evidence presented in the case. According to the indictment, their plot ran from Feb. 2013 to April 19, 2013. Three of the 30 counts that Tsarnaev is facing include a conspiracy charge.
Next, the jury asked what's the difference between aiding and abetting? The judge informed them that "aiding and abetting is a single concept" that simplified means helping someone commit a crime.
At 9:30 am, deliberations officially resumed.
BOSTON — Jury deliberations in the trial began Tuesday at 9:12 a.m., and at 4:30 p.m. the jury of seven women and five men had yet to reach a full verdict in the Boston bombing trial.
"Go home and don't even think about the case," Judge O'Toole said as he sent the jurors home for the day.
The jury will return Wednesday morning to continue deliberating. It is unclear how far along in the process they are.
The jury is tasked with determining guilt or innocence for 30 charges against Tsarnaev ranging from murder to detonating a bomb to robbery to carjacking. The verdict slip that the jury must fill out is 32 pages long.
Despite the lengthy deliberations, a guilty verdict is extremely likely and expected by both sides. In her opening statement, defense attorney Judy Clarke admitted that Tsarnaev carried out the April 2013 bombings, proclaiming to the jury, "It was him."
On Monday in her closing argument, Clarke said that Tsarnaev is ready "to be held responsible for his actions."
If the jurors find Tsarnaev guilty, the trial will move to the sentencing phase, when the same panel of jurors will decide whether he receives life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
Seventeen of the charges that Tsarnaev faces carry the possibility of the death penalty at sentencing.
Even though Tsarnaev hasn't been convicted, the sentencing phase is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 13.
As closing time neared at the court, the judge sent jurors home. Deliberations were set to begin Tuesday morning.
Prosecutor Bill Weinreb gave the government's rebuttal.
Weinreb said Tsarnaev's defense that his brother was the real criminal was "an attempt to sidestep responsibility."
There was no evidence that Tamerlan was the one who shot MIT officer Sean Collier, Weinreb said, adding that Tsarnaev tried to kill three police officers and double their body count.
"He was so committed (to jihad) that he was willing to run over his own brother to kill a few police officers before it was all over," Weinreb said.
Tsarnaev also helped with making the bombs and had bomb-making instructions on his computer, according to the government.
Refuting the defense's claim that Tsarnaev chose the spot to place the bomb because of a tree, Weinreb said, "He passed numerous trees. He wasn't looking for a tree."
Weinreb argued that Tsarnaev chose the spot because there were children present. He also said that Tsarnaev was at the 2012 Boston Marathon to scout it as a potential location for a bombing.
Tsarnaev's writings on the boat were his "last chance" to voice his true beliefs, Weinreb said, adding that he was strong and clear-headed when he wrote the words.
"To shred the bodies of women and children you have to be different than other people... If you are capable of such hate and callousness to kill and murder and then go buy milk, can you really blame it on your brother?" Weinreb said in concluding his closing arguments.
"There is no excuse. No one is trying to make one," Clarke said, saying that Tsarnaev is ready "to be held responsible for his actions."
Clarke said that while the defense agrees about the who, what, when, and where of the bombing — "a senseless act" — they disagreed about the "why."
She said that government's argument that Tsarnaev "self-radicalized" is "simply not true."
Clarke said that evidence pointed to his brother, Tamerlan, building bombs and killing MIT officer Sean Collier, adding that Tamerlan conducted the research, had the Russian-language translations of the bomb-making documents, and was the one to buy pressure cookers from Macy's. There were no bomb-making instructions on Tsarnaev's computer, she said.
"We don't deny that Jahar fully participated in these events," Clarke said. "But if not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened."
Clarke said it was clear that Tamerlan killed Collier, as he told the carjacking victim, "I just killed a policeman."
"There's nothing radical about the flag" in Tsarnaev's room, Clarke said. "It's a religious flag."
Tsarnaev's tweets were those of a "typical teenager," Clarke said.
The defense said that the government cherry-picked Tsarnaev's politically charged tweets to show jurors, failing to show them his typical teen ones. Clarke pointed out that the FBI did not investigate tweets that referenced rap music, stating that came from comedians and poems. "That's not a jihadi in the making," she said.
Referring to Tsarnaev's browsing history of Facebook and a Russian social media site, she said, "This is a kid doing kid things," while adding that they did not deny he had extremist materials on his computer.
Clarke said that in the note Tsarnaev left on the boat, he "didn't write 'curse to America' or anything else you might think a violent jihadist would write." She said that he tried to explain his actions and expressed a "very twisted belief" that his actions had a bigger purpose.
The defense then played the video showing Tsarnaev placing the bomb near the Richard family. Clarke suggested that he selected that spot because there was a tree and not because there were kids there.
"He stops at the tree, not the children," Clarke said. She said that Tsarnaev was "dangerously close" when the bomb exploded.
Clarke said that Tsarnaev was "bought into the plan" and its "beliefs and passions" but he was also "an adolescent doing adolescent things."
His actions "deserve to be condemned and the time is now," Clarke said, concluding her closing arguments. "Your verdict will speak the truth."
Prosecutor Alok Chakravarty began the government's closing statements by saying Tsarnaev "brought terrorism to backyards and Main street."
"He wanted to awake the mujahideen, the holy warriors, and so he chose Patriot's Day...when the eyes of the world would be upon Boston. He chose a day when there would be civilians on the sidewalks. Because he wanted to make a point. He wanted to punish America," Chakravarty said, adding that the brothers killed two young women and a little boy that day.
Chakravarty told the court that 20 minutes after the bombing, Tsarnaev "coolly" went to Whole Foods to buy half a gallon of milk and even decided to tweet "so that everybody knew what he was feeling."
Chakravarty showed the note Tsarnaev wrote in the boat, saying he "did what terrorists do. He wanted to tell the world why he did it. He wanted to take credit. He chose to write something to the American people."
The government showed video footage of Tsarnaev strolling down the sidewalk before the the bombing. Chakravarty said that the two brothers "felt they were soldiers....and they were bringing their battle to Boston."
The jurors saw footage of Tsarnav making a 19-second call to Tamerlan telling him that he was in position. They then saw the video of Tsarnaev leaving the scene "like a salmon upstream" just before the bomb went off.
The government showed images of Tsarnaev before he detonated the bomb, and played a video which paused to show a graphic image of one of the victims' mangled legs.
Chakravarty said that Tsarnaev's actions after bombing "show you the defendant was publicly pretending to be just like everybody else." He described how Tsarnaev grabbed Red Bull from a gas station because "they needed their energy."
The jurors were shown Tsarnaev's tweet which said, "if you have the knowledge and the inspiration all that's left is to take action."
Referring to Tsarnaev's scrawling on the boat, Chakravarty said he "was negotiating the terms of death with America."
The government then showed how the defendant would "lose himself" in jihadi teachings and music.
Chakravarty closed his statements with an image of 8-year-old Martin Richard standing on a railing before the bombing. "Now, finally, is the time to hold him accountable. We ask you to do that now."
On day 17 of the Dzokhar Tsarnaev trial, the court will hear closing statements from the government and Tsarnaev's lawyers.
The jury is expected to deliberate the fate of Tsarnaev today. Even though he is not technically convicted, the sentencing phase is already set to begin one week from today on April 13.
The packed courtroom included survivors and family members of victims, including the parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest victim killed in the 2013 bombing.