Jury likely to consider marathon bomber’s sentence this week

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5-11-15 Tsarnaev_90819

BOSTON (AP) – After months of testimony, the jury in the trial of Boston Marathon bomber DzhokharTsarnaev is expected to begin weighing his punishment this week.

Jurors must decide whether Tsarnaev should spend the rest of his life in prison or should be put to death for the 2013 twin bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260.The 21-year-old former college student was convicted of 30 federal charges, including 17 that carry the possibility of the death penalty.His lawyers are expected to call their last witness in the sentencing phase Monday, followed by rebuttal witnesses from prosecutors, then closing arguments to the jury. Deliberations could begin mid-week.Prosecutors have portrayed Tsarnaev as a heartless terrorist who placed a bomb behind a group of children, killing an 8-year-old boy.But Tsarnaev’s lawyers have said he fell under the influence of his radicalized older brother, Tamerlan, 26.During the sentencing phase, the defense has portrayed Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the domineering and fanatical architect of the bombings who pulled his then 19-year-old brother into his plot. Russian relatives who testified about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s childhood recalled him as a kind, good-natured boy who made everyone smile.The Tsarnaevs – ethnic Chechens – lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the Dagestan region of Russia, near Chechnya, before moving to the U.S. in 2002, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was 8.Prosecutors have portrayed him as a willing participant and equal partner with his brother in the attack, which they saw as retaliation for U.S. actions in Muslim countries.Tamerlan Tsarnaev died four days after the bombings after he was shot by police and run over by his brother during a getaway attempt.

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