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What The Judge Said As He Sentenced Tsarnaev To Death

This article is more than 6 years old.

After victim impact statements and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's statement to the court, here's what U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr. said as he formally sentenced the Boston Marathon bomber to the death penalty:

Transcript provided by the court reporter

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Those are some of the good things I'll remember. The bad things, however, will be even harder to forget. I turn to those now as I address the defendant. One of Shakespeare's characters observes: "The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones." So it will be for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you have done. No one will remember that your teachers were fond of you. No one will mention that your friends found you funny and fun to be with. No one will say you were a talented athlete or that you displayed compassion in being a Best Buddy or that you showed more respect to your women friends than your male peers did. 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.

You tried to justify it to yourself by redefining what it is to be an innocent person so that you could convince yourself that Martin Richard was not innocent, that Lingzi Lu was not innocent, and the same for Krystle Campbell and Sean Collier and, therefore, they could be, should be killed. It was a monstrous self-deception. To accomplish it, you had to redefine yourself as well. You had to forget your own humanity, the common humanity that you shared with your brother Martin and your sister Lingzi.

It appears that you and your brother both did so under the influence of the preaching of Anwar al-Awlaki and others like him. It is tragic, for your victims and now for you, that you succumbed to that diabolical siren song. Such men are not leaders but misleaders. They induced you not to a path to glory but to a judgment of condemnation.

In Verdi's opera Otello, the evil Iago tries to justify his malice. "Credo in un Dio crudel," he sings. "I believe in a cruel god." Surely someone who believes that God smiles on and rewards the deliberate killing and maiming of innocents believes in a cruel god. That is not, it cannot be, the god of Islam. Anyone who has been led to believe otherwise has been maliciously and willfully deceived.

Mr. Tsarnaev, if you would stand, please.

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