Friday 30 September 2016

Boston bomber apologises to victims: 'I am sorry for the lives I have taken... for the suffering that I have caused you'

* Tsarnaev killed four, injured 264 in attack and aftermath
* Victims and families speak at hearing
* Tsarnaev sentenced to death by lethal injection

Scott Malone and Richard Valdmanis

Published 24/06/2015 | 19:43

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack (AP)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack (AP)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston, Massachusetts on March 23, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston/Handout via Reuters

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday has apologised for the deadly 2013 attack at a hearing, and a US judge formally sentenced him to death for killing four people and injuring 264 in the bombing and its aftermath.

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"I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done, irreparable damage," Tsarnaev, 21, told a courtroom packed with parents of some of the dead and some of those wounded on April 15, 2013.

It was the first time that Tsarnaev, who did not speak in his own defense during his trial, had addressed the court.

Read more here: Marathon bomber sentenced to death  

A runner sits near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon.
A runner sits near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon.
A woman is helped from the scene near the finish line after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 28 injured after at least two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon.
Boston Police stand near the scene of a twin bombing at the Boston Marathon, on April 16, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Three people are confirmed dead and at least 141 injured after the explosions went off near the finish line of the marathon.
Honor guards stand beside a wreath at the site of one of the two bomb blasts on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ATHLETICS DISASTER ANNIVERSARY)
A Boston Marathon bombing survivor receives a hug next to the site of the first bomb explosion on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts in this April 24, 2013 file photo. Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, when two Chechen brothers allegedly planted pressure-cooker bombs near the race's finish line, killing three people and wounded more than 260. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A member of the bomb squad inspects the scene after a controlled detonation at the finish line of the Boston Marathon (AP)
Flowers lie on the sidewalk at the site of the first explosion as people walk along Boylston Street after the street reopened to the public for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston, Massachusetts in this April 24, 2013 file photo. Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, when two Chechen brothers allegedly planted pressure-cooker bombs near the race's finish line, killing three people and wounded more than 260. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi
A peace sign is seen on a message tree as visitors look at artefacts in a public exhibition of objects and mementos left at the makeshift memorials that emerged in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, April 7, 2014. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
Pedestrians pass by blue and yellow banners near the site of one of the two bomb blasts on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston
Kevin Brown puts up a hand made memorial for victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings near the race's finish line in Boston
Protesters stand outside federal court in Boston where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced. (AP)

"In case there is any doubt, I am guilty of this attack, along with my brother," Tsarnaev said, standing at the defense table.

Tsarnaev had been found guilty killing three people and injuring 264 in the bombing near the finish line of the world-renowned race, as well as fatally shooting a police officer three days later. The same federal jury that convicted him in April voted for the death penalty in May.

The bombing was one of the highest-profile attacks on US soil since September 11, 2001.

"As long as your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you've done," US District Judge George O'Toole told Tsarnaev before sentencing him to death by lethal injection. "What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people and that you did it willfully and intentionally. You did it on purpose."

Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Read more here: Bomber shows no remorse for deadly carnage at city marathon  

Tsarnaev spoke after two dozen people, including those who lost limbs and loved ones in the bombing, spoke of the attack's heavy toll on their lives.

Rebekah Gregory, who lost her left leg on that blood-soaked April day, addressed Tsarnaev directly.

"Terrorists like you do two things in this world. One, they create mass destruction, but the second is quite interesting," Gregory said. "Because do you know what mass destruction really does? It brings people together. We are Boston strong and we are America strong, and choosing to mess with us was a terrible idea.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left, and his younger brother Dzhokhar were responsible for the Boston marathon bombing
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left, and his younger brother Dzhokhar were responsible for the Boston marathon bombing
Tsarnaev

"How's that for your victim impact statement?"

DARK MEMORIES

Tsarnaev's trial brought back some of Boston's darkest living memories. Jurors saw videos of the bombs' blinding flashes and the chaotic aftermath as emergency workers and spectators rushed to aid the wounded, many of whom lost legs.

Killed in the bombing were Martin Richard, 8, Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 26, and restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29. Three days later, Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, shot dead Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 26.

Read more here: Boston bomber given death sentence for attack on marathon  

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a gunfight with police that ended when Dzhokhar ran him over with a car.

During the trial, federal prosecutors described the ethnic Chechen brothers as adherents of al Qaeda's militant Islamist ideology who wanted to "punish America" with the attack on the world-renowned race.

Tsarnaev's attorneys admitted their client had played a role in the attack but tried to portray him as the junior partner in a scheme hatched and driven by his older brother. The Tsarnaev family came to the United States from Russia a decade before the attack.

Even after the sentencing, the legal wrangling over Tsarnaev's fate could play out for years, if not decades. Just three of the 74 people sentenced to death in the United States for federal crimes since 1998 have been executed.

Read more here: Marathon bomber sentenced to death  

Krystle Campbell's mother, Patricia, called Tsarnaev's actions "despicable."

"You went down the wrong road," Campbell said. "I know life is hard, but the choices you made were despicable and what you did to my daughter was disgusting."

Tsarnaev asked forgiveness for himself and his dead brother.

"I ask Allah to have mercy upon me, my brother and my family," Tsarnaev said. "I ask Allah to bestow his mercy upon those who are here today."

Tsarnaev, who had been criticised by victims and Boston news media for his diffident, passive posture during his trial, said he had been moved by the months of testimony about the bombing's toll.

"You told me how horrendous this was, this burden that I put you through," Tsarnaev said. Referring to the two dozen people who spoke on Wednesday, he said, "I wish that four more people had a chance to get up there, but I took them from you."

Reuters

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