Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Juror Speaks Out for First Time

He says he would not have sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death if he knew the stance of the victims.

Tsarnaev speaks

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev addresses the court on June 24, 2015. Sketch by Jane Flavell Collins/AP

It will probably be a long time before we finally learn the names of all the jurors who sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death in May. Judge George O’Toole has blocked efforts by WBUR and The Boston Globe that would release the names of the jurors who served on the months long trial. Still, that has not stopped all of the jurors from speaking out.

On Monday, Kevin Fagan, known for months as Juror 83, stepped forward to become the first juror to speak with the media since the end of the trial. Fagan, 23, told WBUR in an interview that he may not have voted to sentence Tsarnaev to death if he knew some of the bombing victims opposed the death penalty.

“If I had known that, I probably — I probably would change my vote. But then again, if I knew that I wouldn’t be on the jury either,” said Fagan, noting that he followed O’Toole’s rules and avoided media coverage of the trial.

Fagan said he took his duties as a juror seriously, avoiding reports on the news, posts on social media, and discussions with family and friends about the trial.

“If I went out of my way and disrespected the judge and went against his orders about researching things. That wouldn’t have been very fair or judicious of me,” said Fagan.

Throughout the trial Fagan sat at the far end of the jury box, near the jury door. He often wore polo shirts and was expressionless during the proceedings.

He told WBUR that due to the face he is close to Tsarnaev’s age but it was not enough for him to understand how Tsarnaev did what he did.

“He still chose to leave that bomb there for about four-and-a-half minutes. So it’s hard to get away from that and the damage and strife that it caused,” said Fagan.

Fagan has gone to counseling since the end of the trial in order to deal with some of things he saw and experienced during the trial, particularly the act of sentencing Tsarnaev to death.

“I’ve never had to make a decision like that in my life. Choosing between somebody getting the death penalty and somebody getting life in prison. And I hope I never have to do something like that again,” said Fagan.

During his interview, Fagan declined to discuss the details of the jury’s deliberations. He’s now working on a book about his experienced called  “Juror 83 — The Tsarnaev Trial: 34 Days That Changed Me,” it’s due for a release in September.

On August 15, WBZ’s Jim Armstrong sat down with Fagan for an extended on camera interview where his identity was hidden.