WASHINGTON (AP/CBS) — The Justice Department will seek to reinstate a death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man who was convicted of carrying out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Attorney General William Barr said Thursday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Justice Department would appeal the court’s ruling last month that tossed Tsarnaev’s death sentence and ordered a trial to determine whether he should be executed for the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. Barr said the Justice Department would take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We will do whatever’s necessary,” Barr said. “We will take it up to the Supreme Court and we will continue to pursue the death penalty.”

Under Barr, the Justice Department has again begun carrying out federal executions, putting three men to death so far and scheduling at least three others next week and in September, despite the coronavirus pandemic and waning public support for the death penalty.

Barr has said it is the Justice Department’s duty to carry out the sentences imposed by the courts — including the death penalty — and to deliver justice for the families of the victims.

A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit court found in July that the judge who oversaw the 2015 trial did not adequately question potential jurors about what they had read or heard about the highly publicized case.

The defense acknowledged that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, carried out the attack on April 15, 2013, but sought to portray his brother as the radicalized mastermind who they said lured his impressionable younger brother into violence.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a gunfight with police and being run over by his brother as he fled. Police captured a bloodied and wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hours later in the Boston suburb of Watertown, where he was hiding in a boat parked in a backyard.

Tsarnaev, now 27, was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction and the killing of an MIT police officer during the Tsarnaev brothers’ getaway attempt. The appeals court upheld all but a few of his convictions.

Prosecutors told jurors that Tsarnaev was just as culpable in the attack they say was meant to punish the U.S. for its wars in Muslim countries. In the boat where he was found hiding, he wrote, “Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.”

Killed in the bombing were Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who had gone to watch the marathon with his family. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier was shot to death in his cruiser days later.

The announcement is welcome news to some survivors and victims’ families, but it sets up another difficult journey for those who were impacted.

“I just feel as long as he’s breathing there is a hope for him to be released,” said survivor Marc Fucarile, who was nearly killed when the second bomb went off. He lost his leg in the blast.

“I relive it every day. Every day I put my leg on. Every day I’m in pain. Every day I have to sit down and take a shower. I live my pain,” Fucarile said. “I am a person that strongly believes that we should pursue the death penalty to send a message to people.”

WBZ-TV legal expert Jennifer Roman said it wasn’t a surprise to see the death penalty thrown out. “There was some extreme concern that the jurors may have been biased,” Roman said. “One of the people who was tweeting was actually the jury foreperson who is sort of the manager of the jury.”

Roman said the process will be similar to the last trial, with survivors taking the stand, reliving their trauma.

“It’s truly unfortunate I think for the victims’ families and the victims themselves however, because now they are going to have to get up there on the witness stand again and testify yet again,” Roman said

Describing media attention in the case as “unrivaled in American legal history,” the appeals court said U.S. District Judge George O’Toole fell short in running a jury selection process “sufficient to identify prejudice.”

The 1st Circuit also found that O’Toole erred in refusing to let the defense tell jurors about evidence tying Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the killings of three people in the Boston suburb of Waltham in 2011.

“If the judge had admitted the Waltham evidence — evidence that shows (like no other) that Tamerlan was predisposed to religiously-inspired brutality before the bombings and before Dzhokhar’s radicalization — the defense could have more forcefully rebutted the government’s claim that the brothers had a ‘partnership of equals,'” Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson wrote in the ruling.

President Donald Trump tweeted after the decision that the federal government “must again seek the Death Penalty in a do-over of that chapter of the original trial.” The ruling came as the U.S. government recently resumed federal executions following a 17-year pause.

Fucarile is hoping for some closure. “What else would warrant the death penalty if these actions that he committed don’t?” he said.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)
  1. coch01 says:

    Maybe if they had listened to everyone before the first trial, when EVERYONE was saying “he can’t get a fair trial in Boston” they wouldn’t need to be fighting to put this animal down.

  2. Me says:

    He’s almost never mentioned that the Boston police officer injured and the following year passed away following year, Patrolman Dennis O. Simmonds was struck in the head with a piece of shrapnel which ultimately traveled into his brain. Let’s not forget Patrolman Dennis O. Simmonds

Leave a Reply