"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: 'I am guilty and I am sorry'

D. Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has given his first public statement since carrying out the April 2013 terrorist attack.

“I would like to now apologize to the victims, to the survivors,” he told a Boston court shortly before being formally sentenced to death for the bombing. “I want to ask forgiveness of Allah and his creation.”

He added: “I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done – irreparable damage.

“In case there is any doubt, I am guilty of this attack, along with my brother,” Tsarnaev said, standing at the defense table, referring to his older brother Tamerlan, killed during the manhunt following the bombing.

To the victims attending the hearing at the US district court, he said: “I pray for your relief, for your healing.”

Tsarnaev’s voice occasionally faltered as he spoke, and he left meaningful pauses after each apology to the victims of the 2013 bombing and manhunt, which left four dead and more than 260 injured.

He also thanked nearly everyone who had been involved in the trial: his attorneys, his family, everyone who testified “with dignity” about their “unbearable” hardships.

He also touched on the accusation that he showed no remorse during the trial, saying: “I learned [victims’] stories, their names” and that he learned “more faces” with every hearing. His attorney, Judy Clarke, also mentioned the accusations of lacking remorse, saying her client had offered to resolve the case without trial in 2014..

Quoting the Prophet Muhammad, Tsarnaev said that there would be no mercy for those who showed none.

Tsarnaev’s statement came after an emotional morning of testimony during which survivors and family members of those who died in the 2013 attack faced the bomber and made a series of defiant and moving speeches to the court.

Tsarnaev met their anger and anguish with the same implacable blankness that he wore throughout his long trial. Dressed in a black suit, the 21-year-old sat impassive next to his lawyers.

He folded and refolded his hands, rested his chin in a fist, and occasionally scratched his beard or head. He tilted his gaze to the ground, and only rarely looked at the speakers as they described injuries, nightmares and lost loved ones.

In contrast, many of the survivors and victims’ families and friends made direct remarks to Tsarnaev, often in voices shaking with emotion.

Jennifer Rogers, the sister of Sean Collier, an MIT police officer killed by the Tsarnaev brothers after the bombing, vented years of anger at Tsarnaev.

The Boston Marathon finish line moments before the blast that killed 8-year-old Richard Martin (circled in blue).
The Boston Marathon finish line moments before the blasts that killed
8-year-old Richard Martin (circled in blue), Krystle Marie Campbell, 29,
and Lu Lingzi, 23.
“I will never have a complete family ever again,” Rogers said before describing her brother as a gregarious, generous man, whose love of “the small moments” was stolen by Tsarnaev. She said there was at least some solace in knowing Tsarnaev would not know the joy of those moments.

“He is a coward and a liar,” she said. “He is a leech abusing the privileges of American freedom.”

O’Toole was required to uphold the jury’s May recommendation that Tsarnaev be sentenced to death, but Rogers urged him to place exceptional restrictions on Tsarnaev’s incarceration wherever possible.

Elizabeth Bourgault, a runner who survived the blasts with injuries, also called Tsarnaev a coward.

“Whatever God that the defendant believes in is not going to welcome his actions,” she said. “The defendant’s God will condemn him to an eternity of suffering.”

Intense sadness mingled with the anger. Bill Richard, who lost his eight-year-old son Martin to the bombing, said: “There’s nothing we can say that will change anything for us.”

Tsarnaev “could have stopped his brother, he could have changed his mind”, Richard said. “He chose hate, he chose destruction, he chose death.”

But Richard said of he and his wife Denise: “We choose love,” and reiterated their opposition to the death penalty.

“We prefer he have a lifetime to reconcile himself with what he did that day, [but] he will not live that long,” said Richard.

The bombing killed three people, Krystle Marie Campbell, 29, Lu Lingzi, 23, and eight-year-old Martin Richard.

Days later Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan killed Collier as federal and state law enforcement hunted them down in the Boston area.

At 21, Tsarnaev now becomes the youngest person on death row in the United States. Following the hearing, he will be taken from custody in Massachusetts to a federal prison in Indiana. He probably faces over a decade of appeals before his execution could take place.

Source: The Guardian, Alan Yuhas, Reyters, Associated Press, June 24, 2015

USA: Tsarnaev formally sentenced to 6 death sentences

June 24, 2015: U.S. District Judge George O'Toole formally sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to 6 death sentences for the April 15, 2013, bomb at the Boston Marathon.

The judge was required under the federal death penalty law to impose the May 15 jury's death sentence for an attack prosecutors said was carried out by Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, to retaliate for U.S. actions in Muslim countries.

Tamerlan, 26, was killed during a getaway attempt days after the bombings.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when Tsarnaev and his brother placed two pressure-cooker bombs near the marathon finish line.

Tsarnaev broke his two years long silence. He apologized to the victims and their families. "I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done — irreparable damage," the 21-year-old former college student said, speaking haltingly in his Russian accent.

Tsarnaev's apology was peppered with religious references and praise of Allah. He asked that Allah have mercy upon him and his dead brother.

Some bombing survivors saw his apology as disingenuous and incomplete. "After we heard it, we wished we hadn't," said Lynn Julian, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and a back injury, and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. "He threw in an apology to the survivors that seemed insincere," she said.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Tsarnaev's statement was more noteworthy for what he didn't say. "He didn't renounce terrorism. He didn't renounce violent extremism," she said.

After Tsarnaev said his piece, Judge O'Toole quoted a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. "The evil that men do lives after them. The good is often interred with their bones," he said. "So it will be for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev," the judge said, telling Tsarnaev that no one will remember that his teachers were fond of him, that his friends found him fun to be with or that he showed compassion to disabled people. "What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people, and that you did it willfully and intentionally," O'Toole said.

It could take years or even decades for Tsarnaev’s appeals to work their way through the courts.

Sources: Associated Press, Hands off Cain, June 24, 2015

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