BOSTON — In a sweeping rejection of the defense case, a federal jury on Friday condemned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
The jury found that death was the appropriate punishment for six of 17 capital counts — all six related to Mr. Tsarnaev’s planting of a pressure-cooker bomb, which his lawyers never disputed. Mr. Tsarnaev sat stone-faced as the verdict was read.
At the same time, the jury rejected the centerpiece of the defense argument, that he was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, a self-radicalized jihadist. Nor did it believe that being locked away in the supermax prison in Colorado would sufficiently restrict Mr. Tsarnaev’s communications with the outside world.
Only two of the 12 jurors said on the verdict form that they believed he had expressed sorrow and remorse for his actions, a stinging rebuke to Sister , a Roman Catholic nun who had testified for the defense that Mr. Tsarnaev was “genuinely sorry” for what he had done.
The bombings transformed the marathon, a cherished rite of spring, from a sunny holiday on Boylston Street to a smoky battlefield scene, with shrapnel flying, bodies dismembered and blood saturating the sidewalks; three people were killed, while 17 people lost at least one leg. More than 240 others sustained serious injuries, some of them life-altering.
The packed courtroom was silent throughout the proceedings — warned before the judge and jury entered that any outburst would amount to contempt of court.
When the jury returned at 3:10, the forewoman passed an envelope to the judge. Jurors remained standing while the clerk read aloud the 24-page verdict form that they had filled out. It took him 20 minutes.
It was not clear until the end that the sentence was death, though all signs along the way pointed in that direction.
The jury took 14 hours to reach its sentence, which some legal specialists said was relatively quick in a case this complex.
Eric M. Freedman, a death penalty specialist at Hofstra University Law School, said that the relative speed of the verdict suggested two possible grounds for an all-but-certain appeal: “the failure to grant a change of venue, despite the overwhelming evidence the defense presented about community attitudes in Boston, and the failure to instruct the jury that if a single juror refused to vote for death, the result would be a life sentence.” …