A guilty verdict for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — the chief suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing — was broadly expected, and delivered on Wednesday to a courthouse packed with survivors and the families of victims, almost two years after the event. Tsarnaev has been found guilt on all 30 counts he was charged with, which include conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and murder of a police officer. The verdict means that Tsarnaev, just 21, is eligible for the death penalty. If he is to die, jurors must unanimously vote for his execution.
Two pressure cookers exploded near the finish line of the Boston marathon in 2013. Some 260 people were injured in the attack, while three died. Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan — Chechens who moved to the U.S. while children — were engaged in a shoot out with police after the bombing. Tamerlan, 26, was killed in the gunfire, and was portrayed by the defense as the mastermind of the attack. The court case against Tsarnaev has been hearing testimony for a month, and his sentencing will begin on Monday.
Now, after years of waiting and weeks of testimony, the survivors and the families of the victims are having their say on the verdict. Taking to social media, and speaking with traditional media outlets, they exude a sense of relief. Survivor Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs in the blast, was perhaps the first to speak out. According to NBC News, he said: “Today’s verdict will never replace the lives that were lost and so dramatically changed, but it is a relief, and one step closer to closure.”
Survivor Karen Brassard is reported by WSYX ABC 6 as saying, she "wouldn't have bought it," if Tsarnaev had shown remorse. She describes the accused as "arrogant" throughout the trial process.
Bob Dunfey, another survivor, reportedly expressed emotions similar to Bauman. "It's appropriate and I wish it came sooner," he said.
Another survivor verbalized the sense that a guilty verdict can do nothing to erase the event, telling CNN, "It's not something that you'll ever be over. You'll feel it forever."
Another survivor's statement was tweeted by Fox News. Richard (Dic) Donohue is an MBTA Transit police officer who was shot during the firefight after the bombing.
Donohue's wife Kim also took to Twitter, referencing the grueling work of the jurors.
Sydney Corcoran suffered a leg injury, while her mother lost both legs in the blast. She evinces both relief and Bostonian pride in her tweeted response.
ABC News reports that survivor Heather Abbott (who lost a leg) posted an extended statement to her Facebook page. It read:
Thanks to everyone who reached out today and have continued to support me and the other Bombing victims and their families over the last 2 years. Nothing can ever replace the lives that were lost or changed forever, but at least there is some relief in knowing that justice is served and responsibility will be taken.
According to The Miami Herald, the family of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was killed in the attack, issued a statement that read:
Sean Collier gave his life doing what he was born to do – serving and protecting all of us as a police officer. Sean was more than a police officer to us, though. He was a caring, fun, loyal, and protective brother and son. While today’s verdict can never bring Sean back, we are thankful that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be held accountable for the evil that he brought to so many families. … The strength and bond that everyone has shown during these last two years proves that if these terrorists thought that they would somehow strike fear in the hearts of people, they monumentally failed.
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