Boston Marathon bomber found guilty, may face death
A BOSTON jury has found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all counts for his role in setting off the bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.
Tsarnaev was found guilty of all 30 charges, 17 of which could bring the death penalty. A second trial will start as early as next week to determine his sentencing.
Guilt on just one of the capital charges is enough to bring the death penalty, should the jury decide on that sentence. If the jury decides to forgo the death penalty, he still faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Three people were killed in the bombing and more than 260 were injured on 15 April, 2013.
After the bombing, a subsequent manhunt shut down Boston and grabbed the nation's attention. Tsarnaev eventually was found bloody inside a boat in the backyard of a residential neighbourhood.
During the trial that began earlier this year, Tsarnaev's defence team did not dispute the fact that their client played a role in the bombing, but said he was brainwashed by older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died days after the bombing in a shootout with police.
The defence painted Tamerlan as the mastermind behind the bombing, with the younger Tsarnaev naively following along. Wednesday's verdict proves that the jury did not buy that defence and blamed Tsarnaev for his role in the attack.
While the verdict was read, Tsarnaev kept his hands folded and stared at the defence table in front of him, the Associated Press reported. Jury deliberations began Tuesday.
Tsarnaev was found guilty of charges that include conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction, both of which are punishable by death. The same jury will decide if he will be put to death after another round of witness testimony.
During the next phase of the trial, Tsarnaev's defence will be tasked with trying to save his life.
The defence is expected to present evidence of their client's Chechen family and a rough upbringing in Kyrgyzstan and the Dagestan region in Russia.
The first phase of the trial saw the prosecution paint the Tsarnaev brothers as partners in crime who were trying to punish the US for its involvement in wars in Muslim countries.
When Dzhokhar was found in the boat, he had written a similar message in his own blood, seen below.
"The US Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that. As a [unintelligible] I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished.
"We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all. Well at least that's how muhhammad (pbuh) wanted it to be [for]ever.
"The ummah is beginning to rise. [UI] has awoken the mujahideen. Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that.
"We are promised victory and we will surely get it. Now I don't like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said [UI] it is allowed. All credit goes [UI]."
The prosecution presented the jury with video of Dzhokhar planting a backpack containing a pressure cooker filled with metal shrapnel near the finish line of the Boston Marathon and graphic depictions of some of the injuries suffered by victims.
During the upcoming penalty phase of the trial, the prosecution is expected to present aggravating factors that support the death penalty, the AP reported. Those factors include the fact that a child was killed and that the Boston Marathon was targeted because of the potential devastation.