Jochar Zarnajew brought horror and death to the Boston Marathon. In the process, he unexpectedly showed remorse and asked Allah for mercy. If it is up to the US judiciary, he will die in prison. The only question is: when and how.
Boston (AP) – The “Boston bomber” Jochar Zarnajew is not executed. Four years after the sensational trial of the 2013 Islamist bombing of the Boston marathon, a U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the Chechen-born death sentence. As can be seen from Friday’s (local time) court records, the judges ordered that the sentence be revised.
Zarnayev is awaiting at least a life sentence
The court made it clear that Zarnajew expected at least life imprisonment: «Jochar will spend his remaining days in prison. The only question is whether he will die from execution. »
In April 2013, Zarnajew, together with his older brother Tamerlan, detonated two explosive devices made with pressure cookers at the finish of the marathon in Boston (Massachusetts). Three people – including an eight-year-old boy – were killed and 260 injured. Tamerlan Zarnayev and a police officer were killed in a day-long chase. Jochar Zarnajew was caught seriously injured shortly after the attack. He confessed to the crime and is now in a high security prison in Colorado.
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Zarnayev was sentenced to death, although Massachusetts had already abolished the death penalty in the early 1980s because he was brought to justice under federal law. After a 14-hour consultation, the jury decided on the death penalty on six of the 30 charges that he was found guilty of.
The Court of Appeal overturned the District Court’s death sentence on the grounds that the trial did not ensure that the jury was impartial about Zarnayev. The district court was unable to identify “prejudice or bias” because it denied potential jury members the opportunity to ask substantive questions about what they had read and heard about the case.
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In the trial, the prosecutors had characterized Zarnajew as an insensitive murderer inspired by radical Islam who wanted to take revenge on the United States because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The defense described him as a follower under the influence of his brother. Zarnajew himself remained silent in the trial. Only after the death sentence did he surprisingly show remorse and declared: “I would like to apologize to the victims and survivors.” He prayed to Allah to be gracious to him.
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