Thursday, October 21, 2021

    Boston Terror Suspect Guilty Of All 30 Counts, Eligible For Death Penalty

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    Babatunde Akinsola
    Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

    Dzhokhar TsarnaevDzokhkar Tsarnaev was found guilty Wednesday of all 30 federal counts in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing case and faces a possible death sentence.

    He was convicted of a string of charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

    Tsarnaev, flanked by his three lawyers, showed no emotion, mostly staring at the defense table and occasionally looking straight ahead. At one point he crossed his arms as Federal Judge George O’Toole read the lengthy verdict.

    The seven-woman, five-man federal jury returned its verdict after two days of deliberations.

    Sentencing for the 21-year-old Tsarnaev will be determined at another hearing that could last as long as two weeks. Seventeen of the 30 counts carrued a possible death penalty

    The bombing on April 15, 2013 left three people dead and 260 injured. A fourth person, a security officer, was killed three days later during an intense manhunt that brought the shocked city to a standstill.

    The outcome of some kind of guilty verdict was in little doubt after the defense acknowledged that Tsarrnaev had placed a pressure-cooker explosive device in the crowd near the finish line on Boston’s Boylston Street of the annual race.

    The defense had argued that while Dzohkhar was involved, he was manipulated by his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a police shootout as the manhunt unfolded.

    None of the four defense witnesses suggested that Tsarnaev was innocent.

    “We are not asking you to go easy on Dzhokhar,” defense attorney Judy Clarke said in her closing argument. His actions “deserve to be condemned. And the time is now.”

    Closing arguments were wrapped up Monday in the guilt-or-innocence phase of the trial with prosecutors ratcheting up their case that Tsarnaev, 2

    Prosecutors described Tsarnaev as a true believer in the cause of radical, violent jihad to avenge what he saw as harm by the United States against Muslims.

    “The plan was to make this bombing as memorable as it could possibly be,” Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said.

    Prosecutors pulled no punches, calling 92 witnesses over 15 days, including double amputees and the father of an 8-year-old boy who was killed. They presented a trove of more than 4,000 hours of surveillance footage that left little doubt about the Tsarnaevs’ culpability, not only in the marathon bombings but also in the murder of Collier.

    If that weren’t enough, they hammered home his motive: retribution on Allah’s behalf for the harm he said America had done to Muslims.

    They quoted words Tsarnaev had written inside a backyard boat where he hid during the manhunt: “stop killing our innocent people and we will stop” was among the statements. These were not the work of his brother, Tamerlan, whom the defense has blamed for conceiving the terrorist plot. Tamerlan died after Tsarnaev ran him over in a shootout.

    “He still wrote that manifesto in the boat when the brother was no longer around,” Coyne said. That body of evidence, he said, was likely “very damaging.”

    Judge O’Toole met earlier with attorneys for both sides for about 30 minutes to address the questions raised by the seven-woman, five-man jury, which deliberated for more than seven hours Tuesday before ending the day without a verdict.

    The charges against Tsarnaev — totaling 30 counts — fall into four main categories. Twelve pertain to two pressure-cooker bombs used at the marathon.Three other charges dealt with conspiracy; another three covered the fatal shooting on April 18, 2013, of MIT security officer Sean Collier.

    The final 12 addressed what happened after Collier’s murder, including a carjacking, robbery and use of improvised explosives against Watertown, Mass., police officers.

    O’Toole began Wednesday’s proceedings by reading the jurors’ questions, one of which had two parts, and delivering his answers.

    “Can a conspiracy pertain to a sequence of events over multiple days or a distinct event?” was the first question.

    “Duration is a question of fact for you to determine,” O’Toole told the jury. It could be limited to one event or apply to more than one. Tsarnaev is charged with conspiracy in three counts, all of which name four victims who were killed during the week of April 15, 2013.

    Jurors also asked whether they need to consider all the subclauses in each count, or if reaching unanimity on the overall question of guilt for that count is sufficient.

    O’Toole said they must consider every subclause only if they determine Tsarnaev is guilty on that charge.

    The jury’s last question sought clarification on the difference between aiding and abetting. Twenty-five of the 30 counts charge Tsarnaev with aiding and abetting, sometimes in conjunction with a broader charge.

    “Aiding and abetting is a single concept,” O’Toole told the jury. “Aiding and abetting means to intentionally help another person commit a criminal offense.”

    Even when a defendant isn’t fighting the charges, jurors still need time to work through each question, says Michael Coyne, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law.

    (USA Today)

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