A federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April 2013, killing three and injuring over 260 bystanders. Tamerlan was killed in a subsequent shootout with police, while Dzhokhar was found after a massive manhunt. Dzhokhar said that he and his brother had carried out the attacks in the name of radical Islam.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled on Friday that the penalty phase of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial should be reheld, citing potential jury bias. However, the judges left open the possibility that a new penalty hearing could reinstate the death penalty for Tsarnaev.
“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,” the ruling states.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers had singled out the jury foreman, who wrote on Twitter before the trial that Tsarnaev was a “piece of garbage.” The attorneys deemed it a “fundamental error” that the trial took place in Boston itself.
“I have never borne witness to a case with pretrial publicity more ‘extreme’ or ‘extraordinary’ than this one,” wrote Judge Juan R. Torruela in the ruling.