Will Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Be The First Terrorist Executed Since 9/11? He May Be The Only One On Death Row
The trial of 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ended on Friday when a federal jury sentenced the convicted Boston Marathon bomber to death on six out of 17 possible counts. Tsarnaev, who was convicted of planning and executing the twin bombings with his older brother, was found guilty in April on all 30 counts against him. Now, the Cambridge-bred, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth drop-out is in the process of being transferred into the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and will spend his days in high-security prison as he awaits his death-row appeal.
It's believed that Tsarnaev, who was a 19-year-old college student at the time of the 2013 bombings, saw the attack as revenge for the American military offenses and wars in the Middle East, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been labeled a terrorist by both U.S. justice officials and the public at-large, and by all accounts has shown little remorse during the trial.
But the interesting thing about Tsarnaev is that the 21-year-old naturalized American citizen may be the first terrorist executed in the United States in this post-9/11 world. He will also be the only terrorist on federal death row.
The federal government currently houses some notorious international terrorists, including Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of conspiring with terrorists to kill U.S. citizens in the Sept. 2001 attacks. But Moussaoui, surprisingly, is not waiting on death row; the convicted terrorist is waiting out six life sentences at the supermax prison ADX Florence in Colorado.
The Colorado supermax facility, which is known as the toughest prison in United States, is home to several other terrorists, including the homegrown Eric Rudolph, who was convicted of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing, as well as two abortion clinic bombings that killed several people. The "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski is also serving his life sentence at ADX.
But while these international and domestic terrorists were able to escape the death penalty, Tsarnaev has the distinction of being the only one currently on death row. Barring a successful appeal that reduces his sentence to life imprisonment, Tsarnaev will be the first terrorist executed in the United States since Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber who killed 168 people with a truck bomb.
The young Tsarnaev has yet to have his sentence formally imposed, and he still has a chance to speak and address his victims' families at a formal sentencing hearing at a to-be-determined date. Following the sentencing hearing, Tsarnaev is expected to be transferred to Terre Haute penitentiary in Indiana, where federal death row is located.
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