With the trial phase concluded and the penalty phase about to start, the jury that found Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on 30 counts Wednesday will determine whether he will receive the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Since the trial moved along quickly despite the numerous charges and witnesses who testified, when the defense attorneys admitted in their opening arguments "it was him," few observers expected the jury to return with anything but guilty verdicts on some if not all counts with which Tsarnaev was charged. But now that he's been convicted, many have wondered what prison Tsarnaev is in and if he'll be moved somewhere else.
Massachusetts law does not include execution as a punishment, but Tsarnaev was charged in federal court, and 17 of the 30 charges he was convicted of make him eligible for the death penalty. It also means he will spend time in a federal prison. According to NBC News, since his arrest, Tsarnaev has been held at a prison on a former Army base, the Federal Medical Center Devens, in Ayer, Massachusetts, about 40 miles west of Boston. But if the jury decides to spare his life and sentence him to life in prison, which is the only other option available, where would Tsarnaev spend the rest of his days?
If he had been tried in Massachusetts court, Tsarnaev would serve his sentence in a maximum security prison in that state. But most believe if he gets life in prison, Tsarnaev would be sent to the "super max" prison in Colorado, according to The Boston Globe, where some of the worst of the worst criminals are serving their time. The guest list at super max, formally called the Administrative Maximum Facility ADX, include Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted for his part in planning the Sept. 11 attacks; the "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski; Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols; and a lot of other high-profile convicts, according to The New York Times. Super max prisoners spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement in their cells, which are 12 feet by 7 feet.
If Tsarnaev is sentenced to death, it's likely he would still spend many years in federal prison while his lawyers file appeals. That would mean time at the Federal Correctional Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana, where male federal death penalty inmates are housed in the Special Confinement Unit. It was there that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh spent his last days, and because he chose not to appeal his death penalty conviction, he was executed in Terre Haute as well. Whatever the jury decides about Tsarnaev's fate, it's clear wherever he goes, he'll be there for the rest of his life.
Images: Getty Images (2)