Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Convicted In Boston Marathon Bombing

Wednesday, April 8th 2015, 2:28 pm
By: News 9

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing by a federal jury that now must decide whether the 21-year-old former college student should be executed.

Tsarnaev kept his hands folded in front of him and looked down at the defense table as listened to the verdict, reached after a day and a half of deliberations. He was found guilty on all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction - offenses punishable by death.

The verdict was reached Wednesday afternoon after a little over 11 hours of deliberations over two days. The jury was asked to decide 30 charges against Tsarnaev.

The verdict comes almost two years after twin bombs exploded near the marathon's finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three people and wounding more than 260.

"Today's verdict will never replace the lives that were lost and so dramatically changed, but it is a relief, and one step closer to closure," victim Jeff Bauman said in a statement on Facebook. Bauman lost both legs in the first of the two explosions on Boylston Street.

The jury will now begin hearing evidence on whether Tsarnaev should get life in prison or a death sentence.

During the penalty phase, Tsarnaev's lawyers will present so-called mitigating evidence they hope will save his life. That could include evidence about his ethnic Chechen family, his relationship with his brother, and his childhood in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and later in the volatile Dagestan region of Russia.

During closing arguments Monday, Tsarnaev's lawyers agreed with prosecutors that Tsarnaev conspired with his brother to bomb the marathon and planted one of two pressure-cooker bombs that exploded that day.

But the defense said it was his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan, who was the mastermind of the attack. It was Tamerlan who bought the bomb parts, built the bombs and planned the attack, said defense attorney Judy Clarke.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died four days after the bombings after he was shot by police and run over by Dzhokhar during a getaway attempt. Dzhokhar was captured hours later hiding in a dry-docked boat.

"This was a cold, calculated terrorist act. This was intentional. It was bloodthirsty. It was to make a point," federal prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty said Monday. "It was to tell America that we will not be terrorized by you anymore. We will terrorize you."

The jury saw video of Tsarnaev setting down his pressure cooker bomb right behind a row of children, including the youngest victim to die in the attack, 8-year-old Martin Richard.

"These children weren't innocent to him. They were American. Of all the places that he could have placed the bomb, he placed it right there," the prosecutor said.

The government says evidence like the jihadi materials found in Tsarnaev's laptops and his alleged confession written while hiding in the boat prove that Tsarnaev was a willing partner in the bombings, the murder of officer Sean Collier, and the carjacking of Dun Meng.

The prosecution ended with a montage of graphic images from the aftermath of the attacks, accompanied by jihadi chants found on the defendant's mobile devices.

In her closing arguments, defense attorney Judy Clarke continued with the theme which has been at the heart of Tsarnaev's defense: He did it, but he was manipulated by his older brother, Tamerlan. She said evidence shows it was Tamerlan who bought the materials, built the bombs and lured the younger brother into jihad.

"We must understand who was leading and who was following," Clarke told the court. "We don't deny that Dzhokhar fully participated in the events. But if not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened."

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.