Earlier this month, a jury convicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on a litany of counts relating to the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago and its aftermath. That same jury is also going to gather in the coming days to decide whether Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death for his actions.
The parents of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy killed in the explosion, do not want to wait. In an open letter, they called on the federal government to stop seeking the death penalty, which they said could lead to years of appeals that would only prolong the case.
“We are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal,” William and Denise Richard wrote in a statement published Friday on the front page of the Boston Globe.
In their letter, they outline the brutal situation they have faced since the April 2013 bombing. They described how they grieved for one child while also facing their own injuries and severe injuries to their young daughter, Jane, who lost most of her left leg.
“We understand all too well the heinousness and brutality of the crimes committed,” they said. “We were there. We lived it. The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul.”
Martin was one of three people killed in the explosions, which also injured more than 260 others. His age is expected to be cited by prosecutors as an “aggravating factor” that the jurors should consider when debating whether Tsarnaev should be sentenced to lethal injection or life in prison without parole. The U.S. federal death penalty statute lists several potential aggravating factors when considering a possible death sentence, one of which is whether victims were “particularly vulnerable” because of being very young or old.
SOURCE: Mark Berman
The Washington Post