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Marathon bombing lawyers making final case

13 May 2015, 19:55

Boston - Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was back in federal court Wednesday for final arguments from prosecutors who say he should be executed and defense attorneys who hope for mercy and life imprisonment.

The jury is expected to begin its deliberations late Wednesday.

During the four-month trial, prosecutors have portrayed Tsarnaev as a callous, unrepentant terrorist who carried out the deadly 2013 attack with his radicalized older brother, Tamerlan. They say he deserves the death penalty.

Also read: German officials say they foiled Boston-style attack

Tsarnaev's lawyers admitted he participated in the bombings but told the jury he was "a good kid" who was led down the path to terrorism by Tamerlan, who wanted to punish the U.S. for its actions in Muslim countries. They've asked the jury to spare his life, saying he was 19 at the time.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two bombs exploded near the marathon's finish line on April 15, 2013.

Tsarnaev, 21, was convicted by a federal jury last month of all 30 counts against him, including use of weapon of mass destruction. The same jury must decide his punishment.

Tsarnaev's lawyers have said a life sentence would help the victims' families, who wouldn't be subjected to years of appeals and public attention that would almost certainly result if he is sentenced to death.

The defense showed the jury photos of the federal Supermax prison where Tsarnaev likely would be sent if he is sentenced to life. His lawyers said he would remain locked in his cell 23 hours a day, living an austere, solitary existence until the day he dies, denying him the martyrdom he apparently wanted.

Prosecutors, however, said death is the only appropriate punishment for Tsarnaev. They said he was an equal partner with his brother in planning and carrying out the bombings. He planted his bomb behind a group of children, killing 8-year-old Martin Richard.

"Nothing will explain his cruelty and his indifference," prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini said.

Jurors must be unanimous in their decision to give Tsarnaev the death penalty. If even a single juror votes against death, Tsarnaev will be sentenced to life in prison.

- AP


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