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Jury Deliberations on Boston Marathon Bomber's Fate Begin

  • VOA News

FILE - In this courtroom sketch, from left, defense attorney William Fick, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and defense attorneys Judy Clarke and David Bruck stand as the jury presents its verdict in his federal death penalty trial in Boston, April 8, 2015.

FILE - In this courtroom sketch, from left, defense attorney William Fick, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and defense attorneys Judy Clarke and David Bruck stand as the jury presents its verdict in his federal death penalty trial in Boston, April 8, 2015.

A jury has begun deliberating whether convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should spend the rest of his life in prison or be put to death.

Jurors in Boston got the case Wednesday as prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final arguments in the penalty phase of the terror trial.

Prosecutors brushed off defense arguments that Dzhokhar was under the strong influence of his older radicalized brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a police shootout. They said that even though Dzhokhar was only 19 at the time of the bombing, he was old enough to know right from wrong, and he wanted to avenge U.S. wars in Iran and Afghanistan.

"No remorse, no apology," said federal prosecutor Steve Mellin after again showing jurors graphic photos of blood-covered victims. "Those are the words of a terrorist convinced he has done the right thing. He felt justified in killing, maiming and seriously injuring innocent men, women and children."

Defense attorney Judy Clarke, an arch death penalty foe, described Dzhokhar as an aimless and impressionable young man who had come to the United States from Chechnya. She said Tamerlan constantly lectured him about Islamic jihad and al-Qaida.

"We've shown you that Jahar [Dzhokhar] Tsarnaev was not the worst of the worst, and that's what the death penalty is reserved for," Clarke said. "Jahar would never have done this but for Tamerlan. This tragedy would never have occurred but for Tamerlan."

Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun and prominent opponent of the death penalty who met Dzhokhar, testified that he told her he was sorry to have caused so much suffering.

All 12 jurors must agree if Tsarnaev is to be executed.

The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing killed three people and wounded 264.

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