SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Boston Marathon bomber appeals his death sentence, alleging juror bias

The surviving Boston Marathon bomber who was sentenced to death for his role in the terror plot that killed four and left the city under siege in April 2013,...

Posted: Dec 12, 2019 3:37 AM
Updated: Dec 12, 2019 2:45 PM

The surviving Boston Marathon bomber who was sentenced to death for his role in the terror plot that killed four and left the city under siege in April 2013, is hoping his legal team's appeal will give him his life back.

Lawyers representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 26, made opening statements on Thursday morning to the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes of overturning his death sentence.

Attorney Daniel Habib argued that Tsarnaev did not get a fair trial because Boston was the scene of the mayhem. He argued that the jury was made up of people directly affected by the terror plot who already had made up their mind about Tsarnaev.

Habib spoke about how all of Boston was traumatized by the bombing, with some forced to shelter in place during the manhunt and others who spilled into the streets and cheered when Tsarnaev was caught.

'It was the extraordinary effect of this crime on the community,' Habib said. 'This community atmosphere filtered to the actual jury.'

Habib further said that the jury pool was tainted by news reports that contained, what he called, 'a wealth of inadmissible evidence,' like former Boston Mayor Tom Menino calling for Tsarnaev to receive the death penalty.

Two jurors had shown clear bias, Habib said. The first, Juror 286, discussed the case years before the trial, posting tweets that called Tsarnaev a 'piece of garbage' and admitting that she sheltered in her home with her family during the manhunt. Juror 138 discussed being a part of jury selection while it was underway in a series of Facebook posts, even noting that Tsarnaev sat just a few feet away from him,

'This points only to one direction and that direction is bias,' Habib said.

Assistant US Attorney William Glaser countered by arguing that both jurors had disclosed their actions, saying that Juror 286 was not traumatized by the incident by the time the trial took place.

'It's not whether at the time [Juror 286] felt any emotion about it but whether 20 months later she harbored any prejudice,' argued Glaser.

Glaser said Juror 138 had told the court about his Facebook posts and even admitted to discussing the case previously at family gatherings, saying he went out of his way to 'disclose information that he felt might keep him off the jury.'

Glaser added that news reports could not have affected the jury because many of them admitted to not paying much attention to reports.

'Many of them indicated that they didn't pay too much attention to the news and that they wouldn't let their biases affect their decision,' Glaser said.

The panel of judges, Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, Juan Torruella and William Kayatta, expressed concern about questions that were not asked during jury selection that Habib said would have shown bias. Habib said questions at jury selection had to stretch farther than just news reports.

'They were listening to their family, to their friends, complete strangers, even social media,' Habib said.

Tsarnaev was convicted of 30 charges

Dzhokar was 19 years old when he and his brother, Tamerlan, who was 26 years old at the time, went to Boston's Boylston Street shortly before 3 p.m. on April 15, 2013, to carry out their plot.

Surveillance video showed the brothers carrying the pressure cooker bombs in backpacks and moving through the crowd near the marathon finish line in what federal prosecutors called a coordinated attack.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev set off the first bomb, a 6-quart pressure cooker that contained gunpowder, nails and BBs, prosecutors said. The bomb killed Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager, and permanently injured several other people who lost their legs.

The second pressure cooker bomb, carried in by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, went off 12 seconds later and killed two people, Martin Richard, 8, and Lingzi Lu, 23, a graduate student from China.

The bombings sparked a manhunt for days that shut down the city. The brothers, while on the run, killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, Sean Collier. After they stole an SUV, the two were chased by police.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in an explosive firefight with police in nearby Watertown. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested a day later and convicted for his role in the bombings. He was sentenced to death in 2015.

Tsarnaev is currently being held in federal prison in Florence, Colorado, and is not expected to be in the courtroom when lawyers make their opening statements.

He was convicted in 2015 of all 30 counts he faced, which included all four deaths.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21488

Reported Deaths: 357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah496096
Washington311925
Marion293870
Umatilla230228
Clackamas154940
Malheur80414
Deschutes61110
Lane5903
Jackson4732
Yamhill46713
Lincoln4189
Union3942
Morrow3723
Jefferson3714
Polk31912
Linn28410
Klamath2012
Hood River1930
Wasco1923
Benton1696
Douglas1511
Josephine1152
Columbia970
Coos910
Clatsop850
Crook491
Baker400
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Sherman160
Curry150
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant40
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 574231

Reported Deaths: 10476
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2105434998
Riverside41983820
Orange40527726
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24440171
Fresno17846171
Alameda13631209
San Joaquin12864223
Santa Clara12694205
Sacramento12040177
Tulare10862196
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9693244
Contra Costa9404139
Ventura863492
San Francisco762367
Santa Barbara670469
San Mateo6318120
Merced573670
Monterey544635
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma367047
Madera246339
Placer231922
San Luis Obispo225416
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12436
Butte12388
Napa107411
Sutter9527
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6464
Mendocino47210
Shasta45910
Colusa3914
Glenn3603
Nevada3571
Humboldt2864
Tehama2761
Lake2402
Amador1822
Mono1581
Tuolumne1553
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 85°
Brookings
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 78°
Grants Pass
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 81°
Klamath Falls
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 78°
Critical fire weather conditions today
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events