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Two Years After Bombings, Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death

A federal judge sentenced Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev to death on Wednesday for his role in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and left hundreds wounded.

Tsarnaev spoke in court for the first time since he entered a “not guilty” plea at his arraignment hearing two years ago, expressing remorse for his actions, according to an official court hearing transcription. He also spoke about his faith in God and asked for mercy for himself and his brother Tamerlan, who died in April 2013 following a shootout in Watertown, Mass., after the bombings.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, who was formally sentenced to death Wednesday for crimes in connection with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

“I’m sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, the suffering that I’ve caused, and the damage that I’ve done, irreparable damage,” said Tsarnaev, who once lived in Cambridge and worked as a lifeguard at a Harvard pool.

Tsarnaev’s trial began in March, and after his lawyers openly acknowledged his guilt, a federal jury returned guilty verdicts on all 30 charges in connection to the Marathon bombings in April. A month later, the jury recommended that Tsarnaev be sentenced to death. U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole formalized that recommendation at Wednesday’s hearing.

The sentencing comes just more than two years after Tsarnaev and his brother set off two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon race on April 15, 2013. Days later, police cars raced in pursuit of the brothers across the streets of Cambridge, eventually leading to the shootout that left Tsarnaev’s brother dead. Tsarnaev was eventually captured in Watertown on April 19, but not before a manhunt left much of the Boston area, including Harvard, on lockdown.

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Tsarnaev will soon be taken to federal death row, likely in Terre Haute, Ind.

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at jalincunningham@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

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