Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was formally sentenced to death yesterday, advancing him along the path to federal death row—a place that's pretty free of death. The US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, currently houses 61 federal death row inmates; only three such inmates have been put to death since 1988, reports NBC News. In fact, there hasn’t been an execution since 2003, and there are three prisoners in the facility who have been waiting to be "dead men walking" for 22 years. "It will easily be a decade before the death sentence is even carried out," University at Buffalo law professor Charles Ewing told the Los Angeles Times last month. "People looking for closure are not going to get it. When it eventually happens, this will be way out of people's consciousness." More Death-Row facts, per NBC and the LAT:
- There's one woman on federal death row; Lisa Montgomery, who cut a baby from its mother's womb, is currently incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.
- Tsarnaev, at 21, will be the youngest at the penitentiary. He'll also clearly be the newest, taking that label from Thomas Sanders, who was handed his death sentence in September. He kidnapped and killed a 12-year-old girl.
- Since 1927, 37 people on federal death row have been executed.
- In federal death penalty cases, appeals are automatic, and the first move will be to request a new trial. The last move: ask the current president for commutation. One professor suggested Tsarnaev's decision to speak yesterday could be intended to help him on that latter front.
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