Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: Parents Of 8-Year-Old Victim Argue Against Death Penalty

On April 8, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on 30 charges, including bombing of a public place resulting in death. Although 17 of those charges are punishable by death, the parents of Tsarnaev’s youngest victim have asked the department of Justice to take “the death penalty off the table.”

On April 15, 2013, two bombs were detonated during the Boston Marathon. As the streets were lined with participants and spectators, 264 people were injured and three were killed.

Authorities later determined the bombs were homemade. As reported by, the perpetrators attached explosives to pressure cookers — which were filled with metal shrapnel. The bombs were then placed inside backpacks to avoid detection.

Three days later, the FBI published surveillance photos of two men carrying backpacks similar to those recovered at the scene. The men were later identified as Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who were brothers.

Although both men attempted to flee, authorities tracked the suspects to Watertown. Witnesses report that Tamerlan exited the vehicle and opened fire.

In the resulting exchange of gunfire, Tamerlan was shot numerous times. However, he was further injured by Dzhokhar — who ran over his brother while attempting to flee the scene.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was transported to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. His cause of death was determined to be “gunshot wounds of torso and extremities and blunt trauma to head and torso.”

Authorities later confirmed 16 police officers were injured and one was killed during the violent exchange.

Later that same evening, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding under a boat, which was stored in someone’s backyard. At 8:46 p.m., authorities announced the suspect was taken into custody without further incident.

Although he surrendered to police and claims his brother was the mastermind behind the Boston Marathon bombing, Tsarnaev was charged and convicted on 30 criminal counts.

As the sentencing phase of the Tsarnaev’s trial is set to begin, the parents of the youngest victim have made a bold statement against capital punishment.

Two of Bill and Denise Richard’s children were victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Their 7-year-old daughter was “maimed,” her injuries were not fatal. Unfortunately, 8-year-old Martin Richard did not survive.

Although the Richards continue to mourn their heartbreaking loss, they simply want to “end the anguish, and look toward a better future.” The parents’ heartfelt plea was published by the Boston Globe.

“We can never replace what was taken from us, but we can continue to get up every morning and fight another day. As long as the defendant is in the spotlight, we have no choice but to live a story told on his terms, not ours. The minute the defendant fades from our newspapers and TV screens is the minute we begin the process of rebuilding our lives and our family.”

Victims and their families often support capital punishment as a form of revenge. However, Bill and Denise Richard acknowledge the fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s death will not bring back their son. Instead, the Richards are pleading with “Department of Justice to bring the case to a close” and to take “the death penalty off the table.”

The parents want Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to spend the rest of his life in prison for the Boston Marathon bombing without the possibility of appeal or parole. However, they are ready “to begin the process of rebuilding our lives and our family.”

[Image via Getty/Kevork Djansezian]