MASSACHUSETTS Boston — Federal prosecutors Thursday announced they will seek the death penalty against 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombing.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to press for Tsarnaev’s execution was widely expected.
The twin blasts in April killed three people and wounded more than 260, and 17 of the 30 federal charges against Tsarnaev carry the possibility of the death penalty.
“The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision,” Holder said in a statement of just two terse and dispassionate sentences that instantly raised the stakes in one of the most wrenching criminal cases Boston has ever seen.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.
In a notice of intent filed in court, federal prosecutors in Boston listed factors they contend justify a sentence of death against Tsarnaev, who moved to the U.S. from Russia about a decade ago.
Prosecutors cited Tsarnaev’s “lack of remorse” and allegations that he killed an MIT police officer as well as an 8-year-old boy.
About the case
Prosecutors allege Tsarnaev, then 19, and his brother, built and planted two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the race to retaliate against the U.S. for its military actions in Muslim countries.
The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shoot-out with police during a getaway attempt days after the bombing.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded but escaped and was later captured hiding in a boat parked in a yard in a Boston suburb.