Jury selected in trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
BOSTON — A jury has been selected in the Boston Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and opening arguments will begin Wednesday.
The federal jury selected Tuesday is made up of eight men and 10 women, many of whom said they believed Tsarnaev was involved in the 2013 bombings that killed three people and left at least 264 injured.
The 18-member jury — 12 primary jurors and six alternates — includes a house painter eager to “serve my country,” a man in his 20s who practices the Baha’i faith and speaks Farsi, and a water department employee who said he thinks the death penalty would be “the easy way out.”
They will determine whether Tsarnaev is guilty of participating in the bombing, and they could be asked to impose the death penalty if they decide he is.
Tsarnaev is charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.
Prosecutors accuse Tsarnaev of working with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, to set off two bombs made from pressure cookers near the marathon’s crowded finish line.
The bombs, packed with BB-like pellets and nails, exploded 12 seconds apart, spraying the crowd with shrapnel. The victims included an 8-year-old boy, a 29-year-old woman and a graduate student from China.
Three days later, authorities say, the brothers killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, then led police on a wild chase in which they threw explosives out the car windows and exchanged gunfire with police.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in the mayhem that night. He had been shot, suffered injuries from an explosion and had been run over by his fleeing brother, according to authorities.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found the next day, hiding in a boat in the backyard of a home in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Although Massachusetts hasn’t had a death penalty on its books in three decades, and the state hasn’t executed anyone since 1947, the death penalty is an option because the case is being tried in federal court — where the death penalty remains an option for some crimes, including terror-related offenses.
Many of the jurors who made the final cut seemed willing to consider the death penalty.
One juror, a restaurant manager, said she would have no problem choosing the death penalty if the evidence was there. “I don’t feel like I’m sending someone to death or life in prison,” she said. “Their actions got them there. I’m following the law.”
Another woman, an executive assistant at a law firm, said initially that she wasn’t sure she could vote for the death penalty. But under questioning, she reconsidered, saying, “If I came to that decision based on the evidence I heard, then yes.”
The trial is expected to last into June.