Boston Marathon Bomber Tsarnaev Speaks at Formal Sentencing, Claims he Is Sorry and Prays for Victims’ Relief and Healing

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev arrives in court. (Photo: Jane Flavell Collins, AP)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev arrives in court. (Photo: Jane Flavell Collins, AP)

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologized in court Wednesday for “the suffering that I’ve caused” in the April 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded hundreds.

Tsarnaev, who moments later was formally sentenced to die for his crimes, said in a shaky voice that he was guilty and that he prays for the victims.

“I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done — irreparable damage,” he said, breaking more than two years of public silence.

“I pray for your relief, for your healing,” he added.

A jury decided six weeks ago that Tsarnaev, 21, should be executed for the 2013 terror attack that rocked Boston and the nation. The only suspense Thursday was whether Tsarnaev, now 21, would apologize, explain why he committed the crimes or speak at all before Judge George O’Toole. Tsarnaev did not testify at his trial.

Earlier, dozens of survivors and family members of Tsarnaev’s victims took turns testifying at the hearing, although Tsarnaev’s fate had already been determined.

Bill Richard, the father of 8-year-old Martin, said Tsarnaev could have refused to participate in the horrific attack and could have stopped his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev as well.

“He could have changed his mind the morning of April 15, 2013, walked away with a minimal sense of humanity and reported to authorities that his brother intended to hurt others,” Richard said, Instead, he added, “He chose hate. He chose destruction. He chose death. This is all on him.”

Patricia Campbell, the mother of a woman killed in the bombings, was the first person to give a victim impact statement. She looked directly at her daughter’s killer when she spoke.

“What you did to my daughter is disgusting,” said Campbell, the mother of 29-year-old Krystle Campbell. “I don’t know what to say to you. I think the jury did the right thing.”

The trial and sentencing brought back painful memories, with jurors viewing recordings of the twin blasts as pressure-cooker bombs exploded in the crowd near the finish line. The jury watched the mayhem that ensued as spectators and emergency personnel scrambled to aid the wounded.

The trial also featured testimony from the families of the slain, including the fathers of Martin Richard, 8, and Krystle Campbell, 29; an aunt of Lingzi Lu, 23; and the brother of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 26.

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SOURCE: USA Today – John Bacon

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