• Feds to seek death penalty against Tsarnaev


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- The federal government will pursue the death penalty in the case against alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

    Attorney General Eric Holder had the ultimate say in whether or not the pursue the death penalty in Tsarnaev's case. The deadline for the decision was Friday.

    "After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant's counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter," read a statement from Holder.

    Prosecutors from the office of Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz made their recommendation regarding capital punishment in the fall. Their recommendation was not made public.

    "We support this decision and the trial team is prepared to move forward with the prosecution," Ortiz said in a statement Thursday afternoon after Holder released his decision.

    Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke briefly Thursday afternoon about the decision, stating that while he personally has voted against the death penalty, he supports Holder's decision.

    Governor Deval Patrick released a statement, saying, in part, "One way or another, based on the evidence, Tsarnaev will die in prison."

    Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley also released a statement.

    "I'm sure that after very thoughtful consideration, Attorney General Holder has made this decision based upon the facts of this case and applicable federal law."

    Boston Police Commissioner William Evans released the following statement Thursday:

    "Given the vicious nature of the crime, the lives lost and the hundreds injured on that fateful day, today's decision to seek the death penalty seems appropriate. But on this day, I find myself thinking less about punishment and more about the people impacted. As such, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Officer Sean Collier as they continue to mourn and make sense of a day none of us will ever forget."

    "The announcement made today by the Attorney General reflects an important step in the judicial process. I am confident that various aspects of the law and pertinent information available were weighed in making the decision to pursue the death penalty in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. As we await the trial, I hope all those affected by the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings continue to heal both physically and emotionally," MBTA Officer Dic Donahue said in a statement Thursday.

    Tsarnaev, 20, is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and 29 other federal charges in the April 15, 2013 attack that killed three people and injured hundreds more.

    The next court date in this case will be a status conference on Feb. 12.

    The 20-year-old and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are also accused of fatally shooting MIT police officer Sean Collier.

    Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a shootout with police in Watertown and after he was run over by a car driven by his brother.

    According to the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel, 195 federal death penalty cases have been taken to trial since 1988. In that same time period, only three defendants have been executed in cases where attorneys general have approved pursuit of the death penalty.

    This is the second time that federal prosecutors have sought the death penalty in Massachusetts.


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