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Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev convicted, could face death penalty

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev convicted, could face death penalty

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two men behind the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, has been found guilty of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and 29 other charges, making it possible that he'll face the death penalty. In April 2013, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan set off two homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring over 250. When investigators released images of two unknown suspects, the pair fled, shooting and killing a police officer in the process. Escaping from a firefight with police, Dzhokhar ran over and killed his brother; he was eventually found injured in a boat. Prosecutors brought 30 charges against him, 17 of which carried the possibility of capital punishment. Today, a jury found him guilty of all 30.

This wasn't an unexpected outcome. Although Tsarnaev pled not guilty, his involvement in the plot was never in doubt. Prosecutors argued that he was a full participant in the attack, calling over 90 witnesses during the trial. The defense portrayed Tsarnaev — who was 19 at the time of the attack — as a teenage victim of his brother's manipulation. The primary question, however, has never been his guilt. It's whether Tsarnaev will face capital punishment, something the jury will decide in a second stage. His attorney Judy Clarke has spent much of her career fighting the death penalty; she's successfully defended the Unabomber, mass shooter Jared Loughner, and others from execution. According to reporter Hilary Sargent, sentencing for Tsarnaev could begin as early as next week, but the exact timing is unknown.