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Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Could Receive Death Penalty

The accused Boston Marathon bomber will be put to death if the U.S. government’s chief prosecutor gets his way. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is accused of teaming up with his brother Tamerlan to plant a pair of homemade bombs at the finish line during the 2013 race, killing three people and wounding 264, then killing a police officer and engaging in a shootout three days later that left Tamerlan dead. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that he will authorize trial prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar.

He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges in what is the worst mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. Although Holder has claimed to not be a proponent of the death penalty, he has authorized prosecutors to seek it in 36 different cases since becoming attorney general in 2009. He said in a statement that “the nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision.”

Some family members of those who died or were injured in the attack have supported the death penalty attempt. “It just makes me relieved that the attorney general believes that it was a terrorist attack [and deserves] the death penalty and we support the decision,” said Liz Norden, the mother of two men who lost their legs in the bombing.

A Boston Globe poll last September showed 57 percent of respondents thought life in prison without parole would be appropriate, while 33 percent believed the death penalty would be appropriate.

(Photo: FBI)

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