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Tsarnaev's Fate in Jury's Hands

Attorneys spar in closing arguments of Boston Bomber's trial
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2015 4:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – Now Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's fate is up to the jury: either life in prison or the death sentence. Attorneys made their closing arguments today in the sentencing phase of Tsarnaev's trial, with prosecutors focusing on the carnage he helped inflict and defense attorneys on his reported remorse, the Boston Globe reports. They also sparred over whether Dzhokhar, now 21, had fallen under the spell of his older brother, Tamerlan. Among the highlights:

  • "The bombs burned their skin, shattered their bones and ripped their flesh," says prosecutor Steve Mellin, the AP reports. The blasts "disfigured their bodies, twisted their limbs and punched gaping holes into their legs and torsos. Merely killing the person, isn't nearly as terrifying as shredding them apart."
  • "He acted like it was any other day," says Mellin, who notes that Tsarnaev calmly bought milk 20 minutes after the bombing. "He was stress-free and remorse-free. He didn't care because the death and misery was what he sought that day."
  • "The only sentence that will do justice in this case is a sentence of death," adds Mellin.
  • But with a life sentence, Tsarnaev will "have no glory or stature that martyrdom will bring," says defense attorney Judy Clarke, CNN reports. "His name will fade from the headlines. It will fade from the news altogether."
  • "That sounds like growth," says Clarke of Tsarnaev's meeting with a nun, to whom he reportedly showed remorse. "What unrepentant, unchanged, untouched young jihadi is going to meet with a Catholic nun."
  • "I can tell you this," says Clarke. "Jahar Tsarnaev is not the worst of the worst. And that is what the death penalty is reserved for—the worst of the worst."
(Read more Boston Marathon bombing stories.)

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