Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Fate Will Be Decided by a Series of Check Marks
A jury will soon decide the fate of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as the high-profile trial plods into its final days.
Both sides delivered their closing arguments Wednesday, with Judge George A. O’Toole issuing instructions to an emotionally taxed jury. They will decide either life in prison without parole or death by lethal injection for the 21-year-old.
The sentencing form that jurors will complete, available below, is surprisingly rudimentary. After listing all 18 counts Tsarnaev faces, the form asks jurors to unanimously find whether the government has established beyond a reasonable doubt that that Tsarnaev was 18 years old when he committed the above crimes.
The second section presents four “gateway factors,” which jurors must decide if the government has proven without a reasonable doubt. They include:
- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev intentionally killed the victim or victims of the particular capital count you are considering.
- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev intentionally inflicted serious bodily injury that resulted in the death of the victim or victims of the particular capital count you are considering.
- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev intentionally participated in an act, contemplating that the life of a person would be taken or intending that lethal force would be used in connection with a person, other than one of the participants in the offense, and the victim or victims of the particular capital count you are considering died as a direct result of the act.
- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev intentionally and specifically engaged in an act of violence, knowing that the act created a grave risk of death to a person, other than one of the participating in the offense, such that participation in the act constituted a reckless disregard for human life and the victim or victims of the particular capital count you are considering died as a direct result of the act.
The fifth section lists a series of “mitigating factors,” calling for the number of jurors who so find each one to have been proven, including “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had no prior history of violent behavior,” “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s brother Tamerlan planned, led, and directed the Marathon bombing,” and “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has expressed sorrow and remorse for what he did and for the suffering he caused.”
Section VI is the sentence will be determined, posing three options to jurors: death penalty for all counts, death penalty for some counts, or life in prison.
You can read the rest of the 24-page form below.