On Monday, lawyers will begin to select the jury that will hear the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of participating in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The bombing, which killed three people and wounded 260 others, was the worst attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001.
If convicted, the 21-year-old Chechen immigrant could receive the death penalty. The state of Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty option, but since Tsarnaev is being tried in federal court, he could be sentenced to die. According to Yahoo! News, Tsarnaev pled not guilty to the 30 charges brought against him, which includes detonating two bombs at the finish line of the marathon on April 15, 2013.
He is also charged in the killing of university police officer Sean Collier. The accused bomber had the assistance of his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died during a gun battle with police. The younger Tsarnaev was arrested four days after the bombing took place.
As the News Observer reported, the defense team tried for months to get the trial moved out Boston because they think their client cannot get a fair trial since so many locals have a connection with the race. However, U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole Jr. denied the request.
With a possible jury pool of 1,200, jury selection could end up taking several weeks to find people who don’t have connections to locals who were in or watching the race, and who don’t object to the death penalty. Twelve jurors and six alternatives will need to be selected in order to start hearing testimony.
There is strong evidence against the accused, including, as the Inquisitr reported, a written confession that was found on the inside wall of a boat where he hid from authorities looking for him. Officials believe that the bombing was carried out by the two brothers in retaliation for U.S. actions in Muslim countries.
One of the three college friends who were convicted of impeding the investigation into the bombing or for lying to authorities will testify against Tsarnaev. Another friend, who plead guilty to possessing a gun used to kill a police officer, will also testify for the prosecution.
One of the defense attorneys for Tsarnaev is experienced in trying to help high-profile clients avoid the death penalty. Attorney Judy Clarke’s former clients include Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Olypmic park bomber Eric Rudolf, and Jeff Loughner, the latter of whom was convicted of killing six people and wounding former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords at an Arizona mall.
Once the jury is seated, it could take several additional weeks to hear all of the testimony and then hand over the case to the jury for them to decide Tsarnaev’s fate.
[Image by the CBS News]