Boston Marathon bomber apologizes for the first time

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Tsarnaev Apologizes for 'Irreparable Damage' at Sentencing

BOSTON (AP) -- Moments before a judge sentenced him to death, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev broke more than two years of silence Wednesday and apologized to the victims and their loved ones for the first time. "I pray for your relief, for your healing," he said.

"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," said the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, moments before a judge sentenced him to death.

After Tsarnaev said his piece, U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. quoted Shakespeare's line "The evil that men do lives after them. The good is often interred with their bones."

Twitter reacts to Tsarnaev's apology:

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Boston Marathon bomber apologizes for the first time
#Tsarnaev apology was more - sorry about the collateral damage - but not the act that caused it
Dzhokhar #Tsarnaev was lucky enough to live in a country that cares about freedom, even for the INSANE. http://t.co/PiHRb3tKts
sounded like a pretty grumpy, sullen apology from that boston bomber guy. I hate those. like their mother is standing there watching them.
Boston bomber apologizes to victims and their kin. But what good can an apology do in this case! #BostonBombing
What the Boston bomber done was inexcusable and no apology will ever bring back the lives of those he took or affected by his actions
the boston bomber spoke in court today and i wish i could say his apology was sincere but
Boston Bomber too late for apology. Ned Stark tried that and he still lost his head.
The emptiest words on earth: Tsarnaev's apology.
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"So it will be for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev," the judge said, telling Tsarnaev that no one will remember that his teachers were fond of him, that his friends found him fun to be with or that he showed compassion to disabled people.

"What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people and that you did it willfully and intentionally," O'Toole said.

Tsarnaev looked down and rubbed his hands together as the judge pronounced his fate: execution, the punishment decided on by the jury last month for the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260.

The apology came after Tsarnaev listened impassively for about three hours as a procession of 24 victims and survivors lashed out at him for his "cowardly" and "disgusting" acts and urged him to show some remorse at long last.

Tsarnaev assured the victims he was paying attention.

"All those who got up on that witness stand and that podium relayed to us, to me - I was listening - the suffering that was and the hardship that still is, with strength and with patience and with dignity," he said.

PHOTOS: Action outside the courthouse:

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Boston Marathon bomber apologizes for the first time
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: Dic Donahue, who was injured during a shootout with the Boston Marathon Bombers, leaves John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse following the formal sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: A law enforcement official in heavy gear looks out of a window while vehicles bring Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev to John Joseph Moakley United States Court House on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts for his official sentencing. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: Police officals talk in front of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse after a man was taken into custody who had a meat cleaver in his car during the formal sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: A man sits while police search his car after they found a meat cleaver in it in front of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse during the formal sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: FBI Special Agent in Charge of Boston, Vincent Lisi, center, arrives at John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse for the official sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: Boston Marathon Bombing victim Heather Abbott arrives at John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse for the official sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: Boston Marathon Bombing victim Rebekah Gregory arrives at John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse for the official sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: Death penalty protesters outside of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse during the official sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts for his official sentencing. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: A convoy of law enforcement vehicles brings Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev to John Joseph Moakley United States Court House on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts for his official sentencing. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: Miriam Conrad, member of the defense team for Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, talks on her phone outside of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse before the official sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24: Boston Marathon Bombing victim Erika Brannock, front left, arrives with her mother, Carol Downing at John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse for the official sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 24: Unidentified woman pauses before being assisted into the courthouse. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is sentenced for the Boston Marathon bombings, on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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The outcome of the proceedings was never in doubt: The judge was required under law to impose the jury's death sentence for the April 15, 2013, attack that authorities said was retaliation for U.S. wars in Muslim lands.

The only real suspense was whether Tsarnaev would say anything when offered the chance to speak. And if so, would he show remorse? Or would he make a political statement and seek to justify the attack?

During his trial, he showed a trace of emotion only once, when he cried while his aunt was on the stand. And the only evidence of any remorse came from Sister Helen Prejean, the "Dead Man Walking" death penalty opponent, who quoted him as saying of the victims: "No one deserves to suffer like they did."

His apology was a five-minute address peppered with religious references and praise of Allah. He asked that Allah have mercy upon him and his dead brother and partner in crime, Tamerlan, but he made no mention of the motive for the bombing.

He paused several times as if struggling to maintain his composure. He faced the judge while speaking but addressed himself to the victims.

Tsarnaev admitted he carried out the bombing - "If there's any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more" - and added: "I did do it along with my brother."

Outside court, some bombing survivors said they doubted Tsarnaev's sincerity.

"It really does not change anything for me," Scott Weisberg said.

But another survivor, Henry Borgard, said: "I was actually really happy that he made the statement. I have forgiven him. I have come to a place of peace and I genuinely hope that he does as well."

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Tsarnaev left important things unsaid: "He didn't renounce terrorism. He didn't renounce violent extremism."

Tsarnaev will probably be sent to the death row unit at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed. It could take years or even decades for his appeals to work their way through the courts.

In May, the jury condemned the former college student to die for joining his older brother in setting off the two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line and in killing an MIT police officer as they fled. Tamerlan, 26, was killed during the getaway.

At his sentencing, a somber-looking Tsarnaev, wearing a dark sport jacket with a collared shirt and no tie, sat between his lawyers, his chair turned toward the lectern from which the victims spoke. He picked at his beard and gazed downward most of the time, only occasionally looking at the victims.

"He can't possibly have had a soul to do such a horrible thing," said Karen Rand McWatters, who lost a leg in the attack and whose best friend, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, was killed.

Campbell's mother, Patricia Campbell, looked across the room at Tsarnaev, seated about 20 feet away, and spoke directly to him.

"What you did to my daughter is disgusting," she said. "I don't know what to say to you. I think the jury did the right thing."

Rebekah Gregory, a Texas woman who lost a leg in the bombing, defiantly told Tsarnaev she is not his victim.

"While your intention was to destroy America, what you have really accomplished is actually quite the opposite - you've unified us," she said, staring directly at Tsarnaev as he looked down.

"We are Boston strong, we are America strong, and choosing to mess with us was a terrible idea. So how's that for your VICTIM impact statement?"

Bill Richard, whose 8-year-old son Martin was the youngest person killed in the bombing, noted that his family would have preferred that Tsarnaev receive a life sentence so that he could contemplate his crimes.

Richard said his family has chosen love, kindness and peace, adding: "That is what makes us different than him."

PHOTOS: An ongoing look at the trial

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Boston Marathon bomber apologizes for the first time
Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (L) is shown in a courtroom sketch next to Judge George O'Toole on the first day of jury selection at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts January 5, 2015. O'Toole on Monday began the process of selecting the jury that will hear the trial of Tsarnaev, telling the first of some 1,200 prospects to read no more news accounts about the deadly blasts. Tsarnaev could get the death penalty if convicted of killing three people and injuring more than 260 others by detonating a pair of homemade bombs placed amid a crowd of thousands of spectators at the race's finish line on April 15, 2013. REUTERS/Jane Flavell Collins (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
A memorial for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and its aftermath stands near the race's finish line, on the second day of jury selection in the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Boston, Massachusetts January 6, 2015. The victims remembered are MIT police officer Sean Collier, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard. Tsarnaev could get the death penalty if convicted of killing three people and injuring more than 260 others by detonating a pair of homemade bombs placed amid a crowd of thousands of spectators at the race's finish line on April 15, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
BOSTON - MARCH 9: An artist's sketch of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hangs on the wall outside the Moakley courthouse for videographers to record during the Marathon bombing trial. (Photo by Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A courtroom sketch shows accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (C) sitting with his attorneys on the first day of his trail at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Jane Flavell Collins (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
A plaid backpack Is seen in this undated handout evidence photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston, Massachusetts on March 25, 2015. FBI Special Agent Kenneth Benton testified that he and fellow agents searched the landfill after a college friend of Tsarnaev's took the plaid backpack from the defendant's dorm room and tossed it into a dumpster. REUTERS/U.S. Attorney's Office/Handout FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
BOSTON - MARCH 11: Members of the media film evidence from the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Boston Marathon bombing trial on display at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston on March 11, 2015 . (Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 13: TV cameras line the entrance of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse as the Boston Bomber Trial enters jury deliberations in the sentencing phase of the trail on May 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 13: Members of the legal defense team for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including William Fick (from left), Miriam Conrad, Judy Clarke and Timothy Watkins leave John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse after the beginning of jury deliberations in the sentencing phase of the Boston Bomber Trial on May 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 13: Members of the public line up to enter John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse as the Boston Bomber Trial is slated to start closing arguments on May 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 11: A protester holds up a sign outside of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse as the Tsarnaev defense nears its end of presenting case in sentencing phase of the Boston Bomber Trial on May 11, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 11: Sister Helen Prejean is surrounded by media after testifying at John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse as the Tsarnaev defense nears its end of presenting case in sentencing phase of the Boston Bomber Trial on May 11, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 04: Members of the legal defense team for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including Miriam Conrad, (from left), Judy Clarke and David Bruck arrive at John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse as the sentencing phase in the Boston Bomber Trial continues on May 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries and his relatives are expected to take the stand to testify. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Members of the legal defense team for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including (L-R) David Bruck, Timothy G. Watkins and Judy Clarke leave John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse as the sentencing phase In Boston Bomber Trial continues on April 27, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty on all 30 counts related to to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Members of the legal defense team for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including William Fick (L) and Timothy G. Watkins walk away from John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse during the first day of the sentencing phase of the Boston Marathon Bomber Trial on April 21, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty on all 30 counts related to to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which related in three deaths and over 250 injuries.(Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21: Media and police vechicles are reflected in the entranceway of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse during the first day of the sentencing phase of the Boston Marathon Bomber Trial on April 21, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty on all 30 counts related to to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 8: The jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty at the Boston Marathon bombing trial at Moakley Federal Court. Bombing survivor Karen Brassard pauses as she answers a question outside the courthouse after the verdict. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 8: Dana Cohen, (from left), Carlos Arredondo, Karen Brassard, Liz Norden, Laurie Scher and Massport Fire Lt. Michael Ward at a press conference outside of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse following a verdict in the Marathon Bombing case on on April 8, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, was found guilty on all 30 counts related to his involvement in the 2013 bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 250 injuries. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON - MARCH 4: Opening statements in the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber took place at Moakley Federal Courthouse. A construction crew lowers a form to pour concrete in with the words 'Boston Strong' spray painted on it at a construction site directly across from the courthouse. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - MARCH 5: Boston Marathon bombing victim, Rebekah Gregory, right, arrived at Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston, where the second day in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev got underway on March 5, 2015. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 4: Joe Kebartas of South Boston protests the death penalty outside of the entrance to the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse during the first day of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial on March 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction in an attack on the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon along with his brother Tamerlan, who was later killed during a shootout with police. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON - MARCH 4: Jose Briceno, of Cambridge, Mass., protests outside Moakley Federal Courthouse, where opening statements began in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on March 4, 2015. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A courtroom sketch shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (R) during the jury selection process in his trial at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts January 15, 2015. Tsarnaev, who appeared in court on Thursday wearing a sport jacket and collared shirt, more formally dressed than in last week's appearances, and had trimmed his hair, is also charged with fatally shooting a university police officer three days after the bombing. He has pleaded not guilty. REUTERS/Jane Flavell Collins (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Fireworks are pictured in this undated handout evidence photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston, Massachusetts on March 25, 2015. The jury also saw a photo of a firework, with its powder removed, that was retrieved from a backpack found at a landfill south of Boston. FBI Special Agent Kenneth Benton testified that he and fellow agents searched the landfill after a college friend of Tsarnaev's took the plaid backpack from the defendant's dorm room and tossed it into a dumpster. REUTERS/U.S. Attorney's Office/Handout FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
BOSTON - JANUARY 5: A heavy Coast Guard presence was seen in Boston Harbor by the Moakley Federal Courthouse for start of jury selection for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 04: A memorial stands at the site of the first bomb that went off in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 on January 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. Jury selection begins tomorrow in the case against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the suspected Boston Marathon bomber. Tsarnaev has plead 'not guilty' to 30 charges that could result in the death penalty if he is found guilty. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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