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US prosecutors seek execution of marathon suspect

BOSTON (AP) - Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced they will seek the death penalty against 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombing, instantly raising the stakes in what could be one of the most wrenching trials the city has ever seen.

Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to press for Tsarnaev's execution was widely expected. The twin blasts killed three people and wounded more than 260 others, and 17 of the 30 federal charges against him - including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill - carry the possibility of the death penalty.

"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," Holder said in a statement.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty. A trial date has not been set.

Prosecutors allege that Tsarnaev, then 19, and his 26-year-old brother, ethnic Chechens from Russia who had lived in the Boston area for about a decade, built and planted two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon in April to retaliate against the U.S. for its military action in Muslim countries. The brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police during a getaway attempt days after the bombing.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded but escaped on foot and was later found hiding in a boat parked in a yard in a Boston suburb. Authorities have said he wrote about his motivation for the bombing on the inside of the boat.

"The US Government is killing our innocent civilians," ''I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished," and "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all," he allegedly wrote.

The bombings stunned the nation during one of Boston's most celebrated events as runners crossed the finish line and friends, families and spectators were gathered to cheer them on.

Killed in the bombings were: Martin Richard, 8, of Boston; Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford; and Lu Lingzi, 23, a Boston University graduate student from Shenyang, China. At least 16 others lost limbs.

Tsarnaev also is charged in the slaying of an MIT police officer and the carjacking of a motorist during the brothers' getaway attempt.

Tsarnaev's case has attracted a high-profile defense team, including Judy Clarke, a San Diego attorney who has negotiated plea agreements with prosecutors to spare her clients the death penalty, among them Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph.

The Tsarnaev brothers had roots in the turbulent Russian regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, areas that have become recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists. The indictment alleges the brothers downloaded bomb-making instructions from an al-Qaida magazine and gathered material online about Islamic jihad and martyrdom.

Massachusetts abolished its state death penalty in 1984, and repeated efforts to reinstate it have failed. Tsarnaev is the third person in the state to be charged under the federal death penalty.

Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, 70 death penalty sentences have been imposed, but only three people have been executed, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 2001. Eight people have been taken off death row by a judicial or executive action, while 59 people remain on death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The last federal execution was in 2003, when Louis Jones Jr. was put to death for the kidnapping and murder of 19-year-old Army Pvt. Tracie McBride.

Prosecutors To Seek Death Penalty For Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

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bullydogcleo January 31 2014 at 3:12 PM

Death penalty lets follow it through he defiantlydeserves itwhats the hold up , and make sure it is aired on all major stations !!!!

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awesomeklol January 31 2014 at 7:05 PM

You are extremely sadistic, please go seek help.

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bewise817 January 31 2014 at 1:16 PM

Since he hates what America stands for so much take away his rights to be a jackass and take him out and shoot him and stop wasting money that could be better spent.

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HEIDE January 31 2014 at 10:49 AM

Rid the world of that vermin and bury it with some pig entrails. In fact. more pigs would be good, because it would keep this country safer.

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awesomeklol January 31 2014 at 7:06 PM

You are sadistic as well, go seek help from a psychiatrist

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Cummings Stiles January 31 2014 at 9:53 AM

The death sentence is very appropriate for this terrorist. Its time we treat terrorists and war criminals for what they are. There is no doubt he has confessed and we have him on film. I suggest we tie a bomb to him and treat him as he treated those he killed and hurt.

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dave1marine January 31 2014 at 9:43 AM

nivine1979: Please don't "cherry pick" my comment. I stated that even a 10 year old kid know it's wrong to slaughter "INNOCENT people", Tsarnaev is FAR from innocent. The death penalty is a punishment rendered for a crime committed. Nothing more, nothing less. Some people BRIGHTEN this world by leaving it. That oxygen thief is one of them.

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awesomeklol January 31 2014 at 7:08 PM

Why kill him, when you can have him spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison? He would have so much time to reflect on what he did wrong,etc,etc.Besides, Charles Manson wasn't executed, and he is as deserving, if not more then tsarnaev of being executed.

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mrthann January 31 2014 at 9:39 AM

This man who said NOT GUILTY is so VERY guilty. Death penalty is the only solution to his crime. Why is the system wasting so much time on this????

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Porp! January 31 2014 at 9:32 AM

I say stick a piece of C4 up his rear end and let one of the victims family members send him to see Allah and his 40 virgins!!

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scarletcatnruby2 January 31 2014 at 9:30 AM

I am shocked that Eric BALL Holder didn't mess this up. He does work for the Biggest Muslim in the Country, Blowbama. They protect each other in the name of diplomacy. The emotions over this bombing were to high stake for anything less than death. And for once Blowbie sensed that he would get too much heat if he told Ball Holder to stop the quest for death.

I was born and raised in Boston Proper.

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Gitan February 01 2014 at 1:31 AM

if your comments were true i would agree with you, but unfortunately your post is riddled with lies. i suspect you also believe that President Obama was born in Kenya and the that world is flat.

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MICHAEL January 31 2014 at 9:28 AM

i cant even imagine this is a question or a debate. of course he should be executed. death by dismemberment. just like the victims at the marathon. then, throw the pieces in boston harbour for the fish. recycling is a good thing

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URON January 31 2014 at 9:26 AM

These pics depict him as the kid he is and not by the psychopath that senselessly destroyed some many people's lives. He has no remorse and if he is ever released (be it 25, even 50) I believe he would try such an act again.....if not the death penalty then they should amputate his legs (not surgically either but in the most painful way possible) so that for the rest of his life he can feel the same pain his poor surviving victims are now forced to endure.

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