Reactions To Tsarnaev Death Penalty Decision

Gov. Deval Patrick:

One way or another, based on the evidence, Tsarnaev will die in prison. In each milestone of this case — today's announcement, the trial and every other significant step in the justice process — the people hurt by the Marathon bombings and the rest of us so shocked by it will relive that tragedy. The best we can do is remind each other that we are a stronger Commonwealth than ever, and that nothing can break that spirit.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh:

Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell, Sean Collier, and the brave survivors whose lives have been forever changed by the events of April 15, 2013. I can’t imagine what they are feeling today. Over the past nine months, the people of Boston have shown the world that we are a city full of heart and courage. We stand together as One Boston in the face of evil and hatred. Attorney General Holder has applied the law in this case, and I support the process that brought him to this decision.

Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis:

I don't think it's something that should be used frequently, but every once in a while you come across a case where I think that the circumstances are so unique that it needs to be considered. This is such a case.

Current Boston Police Commissioner William Evans:

Given the vicious nature of the crime, the lives lost and the hundreds injured on that fateful day, today's decision to seek the death penalty seems appropriate. But on this day, I find myself thinking less about punishment and more about the people impacted. As such, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Officer Sean Collier as they continue to mourn and make sense of a day none of us will ever forget.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley:

My thoughts continue to be with the victims who were murdered and their families, as well as the other victims who are still dealing with the horrific consequences of this grievous and intentional act of terror. The Marathon bombers may have tried to put the people of Boston in fear, but instead only made us stronger and brought us together as a Commonwealth. I’m sure that after very thoughtful consideration, Attorney General Holder has made this decision based upon the facts of this case and applicable federal law.

ACLU of Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose:

The ACLU is disappointed that Attorney General Holder has authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The ACLU opposes the death penalty in all cases, because it is discriminatory and arbitrary, and because it inherently violates the Constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

In this case, it is important to keep in mind that the people of Massachusetts, through their elected representatives, have repeatedly rejected the death penalty. Even shortly after the horrible Boston Marathon bombing, a Boston Globe poll found that the people of Boston said two-to-one that they would prefer a sentence of life without parole for Tsarnaev, if he is convicted.

After the Marathon attack, this community rallied around the slogan "Boston Strong." Even--and especially--in cases like this, that means not letting terrorists or anyone else shake us from our values.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz:

Today, United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. authorized the government to seek the death penalty in the case of United States v. Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. We support this decision and the trial team is prepared to move forward with the prosecution.

A short time ago, the government filed with the Court the required notice of intent to seek the death penalty. The case will now continue to proceed through the pretrial process and the next scheduled court event is a status conference set for February 12, 2014.

While I understand the public interest in this matter, we have rules that limit the release of information and the scope of public statements. The process by which this decision was made is confidential, and I will not comment further about that process other than to say that it entailed a careful and detailed consideration of the particular facts and circumstances of this case.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder:

After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant’s counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter. The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision.

This article was originally published on January 30, 2014.


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