Closing arguments to begin in marathon bomber’s trial

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, May 13, 2015

BOSTON — It’s the last chance for prosecutors and lawyers to make a case for life in prison or the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev when they present their closing arguments to the jury.

The jury is expected to begin its deliberations late Wednesday after it hears closing arguments and instructions from the judge.

Judge George O’Toole Jr. told jurors before closing arguments that they only have two choices for punishing Tsarnaev: life in prison without the possibility of release or the death penalty.

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“The choice between these very serious alternatives is yours and yours alone to make,” the judge said.

During the four-month trial, prosecutors have portrayed Tsarnaev as a callous, unrepentant terrorist who carried out the deadly attack with his radicalized older brother, Tamerlan. They say he deserves the death penalty.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers admitted he participated in the bombings, but told the jury he was “a good kid” who was led down the path to terrorism by Tamerlan, who wanted to punish the U.S. for its actions in Muslim countries. They’ve asked the jury to spare his life.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two bombs exploded near the marathon’s finish line on April 15, 2013.

Tsarnaev, 21, was convicted by a federal jury last month of all 30 counts against him, including use of weapon of mass destruction. The same jury must now decide his punishment.