Boston Marathon bomber apologizes, formally sentenced to death

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Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in court for sentencing on Wednesday, June 24, 2015.

BOSTON — Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologized to the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings before he was formally sentenced to death Wednesday.

The outcome of Wednesday morning’s federal sentencing hearing was a foregone conclusion after the jury decided to impose the death penalty last month.

The 21-year-old former college student is the first person to be handed a death sentence in a federal terrorism case since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He and his older brother, Tamerlan, who died while fleeing police, set off two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

Two women and an 8-year-old boy were killed and more than 260 other people were injured. Many of those injuries will last a lifetime. The blasts left 17 people — all active, outdoorsy people — amputees. A fourth person, an MIT police officer, was killed during the hunt for the Tsarnaevs.

Judge George O’Toole heard emotional testimony from family members of the victims before imposing sentence.

Tsarnaev was given the opportunity to speak.

“This is the blessed month of Ramadan, the month of mercy … the month to act forgiveness,” Tsarnaev said in court. “I would like to now apologize to the victims to the survivors. Immediately after the bombing that I am guilty of, I learned of some of the victims, their names, their faces, their ages.

“I am sorry for the lives that I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage, the irreparable damage. …

“I pray to Allah to bestow his mercy on you. I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your health.”

O’Toole then imposed the death penalty.

“When people remember you, they will remember only the evil you have done,” O’Toole told Tsarnaev. “No one will remember that your teachers were fond of you. That you were funny, a good athlete. What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people.”

Tsarnaev then was asked to stand.

“I sentence you to the penalty of death by execution,” the judge said.

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