Local

Parents of slain child oppose the death penalty for Tsarnaev

byPilot Staff
4/17/2015

The parents of Martin Richard, the youngest victim killed at the marathon bombings two years ago, are asking that the death penalty be taken "off the table" for terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Tsarnaev was found guilty of the bombings that killed three people and severely injured over two hundred others at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

In a letter published in the Boston Globe April 17 and titled "To end the anguish, drop the death penalty," the Richard's asked that the Department of Justice bring the case to a close.

"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," they wrote.

"We understand all too well the heinousness and brutality of the crimes committed. 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," they wrote.

"We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives. We hope our two remaining children do not have to grow up with the lingering, painful reminder of what the defendant took from them, which years of appeals would undoubtedly bring."

The Richard's acknowledge that their decision is a " deeply personal issue" and that they can only speak for themselves but they state their belief that "now is the time to turn the page, end the anguish, and look toward a better future -- for us, for Boston, and for the country."

On April 8, a jury in Federal court in Boston found Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts related to the April 15, 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon. The jury found that Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted the bombs that exploded near the finish line at the marathon, wounding more than 260 people and killing 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester; 29-year-old Medford native Krystle Campbell; and Lu Lingzi, 23, a Chinese national studying at Boston University. Later, the pair killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier as they attempted to make an escape from the Boston area.

The penalty phase of the trial is set to begin April 21 at the U.S. District Court in Boston.