ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A Capital Region lawyer breaks down the second phase of the Boston Marathon bombing trial after a jury found Dzhokar Tsarnaev guilty on multiple counts.
Tsarnaev was found guilty on 30 counts on Wednesday. Tsarnaev was accused of taking part in the April 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon. The next step is the penalty phase of the trial, though a date has not been set, yet.
The first bomb blast at the 2013 marathon was caught on camera by runner Jennifer Treacy of Malta.
“Crowds were running away from the finish line,” she described. “Away from the smoke.”
Soon after that tragic day, a photograph of Boston firefighter and Colonie native Jim Plourde went viral. Many called his efforts heroic.
“He’s like, ‘You got to take her out,’” he said. “I said, ‘I got this,’ and I tied the tourniquet on.”
Nearly two years later, victims of the attack said the guilty verdict was a relief. But a jury will still need to decide if Tsarnaev receives life in prison or the death penalty.
Unlike most cases where a judge decides punishment in this case, the same jury that found Tsarnaev guilty will also determine his sentence. Local attorney Terry Kindlon said the jury will hear aggravated evidence from the prosecution and what is called mitigation evidence from the defense.
Kindlon said the process could take weeks to complete.
“They’ll know everything he did up until the moment that he set off this bomb,” Kindlon said.
Kindlon said the defense has a tough challenge ahead.
“In order to be a juror on a capital case, you have to be a person who is not opposed to the death penalty philosophically,” he said.
But he said statistics show another side of the decision.
“Especially in the last few years, juries have been increasingly declining to vote in favor of the death penalty,” he explained.
Kindon said he believes life in prison could prove to be worse than the death penalty.
“You are locked in a little tiny room all by yourself; nobody to talk to,” he said. “Nothing to do except sit here for 24 hours a day and just think about the fact that you’ve done this horrible thing.”
Kindlon said it’s possible the defense could have Tsarnaev’s family members and people who know him testify during the death penalty case. More victims of the attack could also testify.