Martin Richard’s Family Speaks at Tsarnaev’s Sentencing

'He chose hate…we chose love.'

martin richard

Photo via Lucia Brawley/Facebook

In federal court on Wednesday, the parents of the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombings, eight-year-old Martin Richard, confronted the terrorist who blew their son’s body apart on Boylston Street.

Bill and Jane Richard told Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that he had the opportunity to do something different on the morning of April 15, 2013. He had the opportunity to walk away from the sidewalk outside the Forum restaurant and contact law enforcement about his brother’s plans to kill and maim people—but he chose otherwise.

“He chose to do nothing to prevent all of this from happening, he chose to accompany his brother and participate in this hate,” said Bill Richard, reading from a prepared statement not far from Tsarnaev’s defense table. “He chose hate, he chose destruction, he chose death, this is all on him. We chose love, we chose kindness, we chose peace. This is our response to hate. This is what makes us different from him.”

While Bill spoke, Tsarnaev—dressed in a black suit and dark blue shirt—shifted in his seat, facing the jury with his head slightly cocked so that he appeared to partially look in their direction. His messy hair made it difficult at times to tell if his eyes were actually fixated on the Richard family; he did often looked down at the table in front of him or at the jury.

The Richard family had penned a letter to the Globe at the start of the death penalty phase of the trial, outlining their opposition to capital punishment for Tsarnaev. On Wednesday, they reiterated their anti-death penalty stance in court while addressing the convicted terrorist.

“We preferred he had a lifetime to reconcile what he did that day, but he will have less than that. Until the day comes for him to understand what he has done, there is no reconciliation. Until the day he asks for reconciliation, this hangs on him. When he meets his maker, may he understand what he has done and may justice and peace be found,” Bill said.