Middlesex DA Wants To Try Tsarnaev For MIT Officer's Death

A state prosecutor says she intends to try Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer even though Tsarnaev is already on death row.

The 21-year-old Tsarnaev was sentenced to death last month after being convicted of federal charges in the April 2013 bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Some of those charges related to the shooting of officer Sean Collier by Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, days after the bombings.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan says in a statement that a state trial is still appropriate. She noted Tsarnaev's federal conviction and sentence will be appealed.

"When you come into Middlesex County and execute a police officer ... it is appropriate you should come back to Middlesex County to stand trial for that offense," Ryan said in the statement.

Attorney Brad Bailey, a former prosecutor in the Middlesex district attorney’s office, says the need for closure is important, however he thinks the decision to prosecute should be scrutinized.

"With somebody facing the ultimate penalty like that, one wonders really what the necessity is to try for an outcome that is something less than [the death penalty]," Bailey said.

Also, he says, the trial would be expensive.

"It is not just the expense of doing a complicated murder one case," he said, "but also the courthouse security issues that will be increased because of the circus-like atmosphere."

Ryan's office said it just beginning the process of seeking his return to the state from federal custody and it's unclear when he could be tried. A message seeking comment was left Saturday with Ryan's spokeswoman.

Tsarnaev's defense attorney on the state charges, John Salsberg, declined to comment to The Associated Press.

With reporting by WBUR's Simón Rios and The Associated Press. 

This article was originally published on July 11, 2015.



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