Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted for his role in the April 15, 2013 bombings of the Boston Marathon, ending the first phase of a terror trial that will now continue with a penalty phase to determine whether he will be executed.
A jury of seven women and five men who had deliberated for two days delivered guilty verdicts Wednesday in all 30 criminal counts against Tsarnaev, who was 19 when twin blasts rocked the race’s finish line. Three people died and 260 were injured in the worst terror attacks on American soil since 9/11.
As the verdict was being read out, Tsarnaev appeared to have no emotion. After the last “guilty,” he sat with his defense lawyers, looking straight ahead, resting his chin on his hands. William Richard, the father of 8-year-old bombing victim Martin Richard, put his arm around his wife as they listened from the gallery.
The jury could begin hearing arguments in the penalty phase early next week.
The verdicts arrived a week before the bombing’s second anniversary, a coincidence that loomed over plans to mark the event and the city’s preparation for the 119th Boston Marathon, to be held April 20.
Mayor Martin Walsh said he was “thankful” that the first phase of the trial had ended and that he wanted the penalty phase to proceed swiftly. “I hope today’s verdict provides a small amount of closure for the survivors, families, and all impacted by the violent and tragic events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon,” Walsh said in a statement.
Jeffrey Bauman, who lost two legs in the bombing and testified against Tsarnaev, called the verdict “a relief, and one step closer to closure.”
Tsarnaev, now 21, was widely expected to be found guilty, since his defense lawyers admitted from the trial’s outset that he took part in the attack. Their strategy was to save him from execution by painting him as a dupe of his radicalized older brother.
Lead defense lawyer Judy Clarke left the federal courthouse without making any comment.