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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Breaks Silence in Court Before Judge Sentences Him to Death

Convicted Boston bomber is expected to be formally sentenced to death in a courtroom full of his victims and their families.

by VICE News
Jun 24 2015, 3:15pm

Photo via AP/Flavell Collins

Convicted Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologized to his victims and their families before receiving a formal death sentence in a packed Boston courtroom Wednesday.

"I would like to apologize to the victims and the survivors," he said. 

"I pray to Allah, to bestow his mercy on those affected in the bombing and their families…I pray for your healing," he added, reportedly crying as he spoke. Throughout his trial, the 21-year-old remained silent. 

After he spoke, Judge George O'Toole handed down the formal sentence.

"I sentence you to death by execution," O'Toole said.

Before Tsarnaev spoke, his victims and their families were given a chance to address him directly. Patricia Campbell, the mother of Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old killed in the bombings, spoke directly to Tsarnaev, who was seated just 20 feet away.

"What you did to my daughter is disgusting," she said.

In May, a federal jury chose to sentence Tsarnaev to death after he was convicted of 30 federal charges. He and his brother Tamerlan — who was killed in a police shootout following the bombing — detonated two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. The attack killed three people and injured 260.

Related: The Prosecution Opened Sentencing Arguments in the Boston Bombing Trial with a Shocking Photograph

During the trial, federal prosecutors described Tsarnaev and his brother as followers of al Qaeda who wanted to "punish America." Defense lawyers admitted that Tsarnaev participated in the attacks, but tried to pin the blame on his older brother Tamerlan, saying he was a major influence on Dzhokhar.

Victims of the bombing testified throughout the trial about the facts of the case and they were questioned about the bombing itself. Throughout today's proceedings, more than 30 victims were given a chance to speak more openly about the impact of the bombing on their lives.

Today's ruling, however, does not guarantee Tsarnaev will be executed anytime soon. He is widely expected to appeal his conviction, and the odds are in his favor: just three of the 74 people sentenced to death in the United States for federal crimes since 1998 have actually been put to death.

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