Bill and Denise Richard said that Tsarnaev’s actions forever changed their family when he placed the bomb that killed their son Martin and severely injured their daughter Jane. But they added that their family would support the Department of Justice taking the death penalty off the table.
In the Boston Globe opinion piece, the Richard family never refers to Tsarnaev by his name, instead calling him simply “the defendant.”
“We understand all too well the heinousness and brutality of the crimes committed. We were there. We lived it. The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul,” the Richards wrote in the Globe. ”We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives.”
The Richards instead said they would support taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for Tsarnaev serving his life in prison and waiving his rights to appeal.
“As long as the defendant is in the spotlight, we have no choice but to live a story told on his terms, not ours,” the Richard family wrote. “The minute the defendant fades from our newspapers and TV screens is the minute we begin the process of rebuilding our lives and our family.”
United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz issued a statement on Friday regarding the Richard family’s op-ed piece.
I have spoken with Bill and Denise Richard many times since the beginning of the case and I am aware of their views. My relationship with them, and with all of the victims and survivors, is very important to me. Over the past two years, I have heard from scores of survivors and victims about their feelings regarding this case. Many have strong views about the best way to proceed. Those views have been heard and have played a role — and continue to play a role — in the Department of Justice’s handling of this case. The attorneys in a criminal case are legally bound to keep many matters relating to the case confidential, even from the people most affected by the crimes. I therefore cannot comment on the specifics of the statement. But as I have previously assured both Bill and Denise, I care deeply about their views and the views of the other victims and survivors. As the case moves forward we will continue to do all we can to protect and vindicate those injured and those who have passed away.
Martin Richard was killed in the 2013 bombings, one of three who died that day near the finish line on Boylston Street.
Tsarnaev was found guilty in the bombings earlier this month. The death penalty phase of his trial begins on Tuesday, the day after this year’s Boston Marathon.
Despite the Richard family’s plea, a Department of Justice spokesman said there are no plans to take the death penalty off the table in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.
“The Department of Justice has no plans to reverse course on pursuing the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” the spokesman said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports: