- The death penalty of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been vacated, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.
- The panel of the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeal said the judge “fell short” in screening jurors for potential bias and ordered a retrial over the sentence for Tsarnaev’s crimes, Reuters reported.
- In the retrial, a new set of jurors can again decide whether Tsarnaev — who alongside his brother killed three people and injured more than 250 — should be sentenced to death.
- US Circuit Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson promised that Tsarnaev will remain in federal prison for the rest of his life in the event he doesn’t get resentenced to death.
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A federal appeals court ruled to vacate the death penalty of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday, but said he will remain in prison for the rest of his life.
The panel of the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeal said the judge “fell short” in screening jurors for potential bias and failed to exclude jurors who had already concluded that Tsarnaev was guilty after seeing news coverage of the bombings and their aftermath, according to Reuters.
Writing for the court, US Circuit Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson said the jurors had “already formed an opinion that Dzhokhar was guilty — and he did so in large part because they answered ‘yes’ to the question whether they could decide this high-profile case based on the evidence,” Reuters reported.
However, the court ordered a retrial over the sentence for Tsarnaev’s crimes, where a new set of jurors can again decide if he should be sentenced to death.
In the event this doesn’t happen, the three-judge panel said that the Kyrgyz-American national would still remain in federal prison for the rest of his life.
“And just to be crystal clear: Because we are affirming the convictions and the many life sentences imposed on those remaining counts (which Dzhokhar has not challenged), Dzhokhar will remain confined to prison for the rest of his life, with the only question remaining being whether the government will end his life by executing him,” Thompson said, according to CNN.
Tsarnaev, who is now 27, will continue to be held at the ADX Florence supermax prison — the nation’s most secure federal prison in Florence, Colorado.
Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, set off a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three spectators and injuring more than 260 people.
His brother was killed in a shootout with police three days later while Tsarnaev was caught by police and convicted in 2015.
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