Survivors and family members of those killed in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing were taken aback last week when the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s death penalty sentence, ruling that the terrorist be given a new penalty-phase trial for his part in the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
In a statement on Twitter this weekend, President Donald Trump weighed in on the decision, demanding that federal prosecutors fight to put Tsarnaev to death.
“Rarely has anybody deserved the death penalty more than the Boston Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” Trump wrote. “The court agreed that this ‘was one of the worst domestic terrorist attacks since the 9/11 atrocities.’ Yet the appellate court tossed out the death sentence. So many lives lost and ruined. The Federal Government must again seek the Death Penalty in a do-over of that chapter of the original trial. Our Country cannot let the appellate decision stand. Also, it is ridiculous that this process is taking so long!”
In his ruling, Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson attempted to downplay the seriousness of striking down Tsarnaev’s death sentence.
“But make no mistake: Dzhokhar will spend his remaining days locked up in prison, with the only matter remaining being whether he will die by execution,” Thompson wrote.
Tsarnaev’s attorneys released a statement praising the court for their “straightforward and fair decision: if the government wishes to put someone to death, it must make its case to a fairly selected jury that is provided all relevant information.”
In comments to the Boston Globe, the mother of Krystle Campbell – a 29-year-old killed in the bombing – said the court’s decision was ridiculous.
“I just don’t understand it,” Patricia Campbell said. “It’s just terrible that he’s allowed to live his life. It’s unfair. He didn’t wake up one morning and decide to do what he did. He planned it out. He did a vicious, ugly thing.”
Another attack survivor – 40-year old dancer Adrianne Haslet, who lost a leg in the bombing – was clear about her feelings in an Instagram post about the ruling.
“He needs to die,” she wrote. “The death penalty should be used in this particular case. This terrorist admitted in court he was guilty of crimes committed against our country. He confessed. He is a threat to all of us and he needs to die.”
And the sooner the better.