Boston Globe editorial board: 'Spare Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the death penalty' or 'risk letting him become a martyr'

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev(AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)In this courtroom sketch, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke Chakravarty is depicted pointing to defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right, during closing arguments.

In a strongly worded editorial on Thursday, The Boston Globe called for sparing convicted Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, from the death penalty.

The publication’s stance was notable considering that the bombing took place just a few miles from its newsroom. Yet it was not completely surprising — Massachusetts does not allow the death penalty and more Bostonians expressed their preference for a life term over the death sentence for Tsarnaev in a recent poll.

On Wednesday, a jury convicted Tsarnaev on all 3o counts against him for the 2013 bombing that killed three people and wounded 260 others. Now, the group will soon enter deliberations to determine whether Tsarnaev will die for his crimes. Death penalty opponents were purposefully kept off the jury.

“Even supporters of the death penalty should have some qualms about putting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death,” the Globe’s board writes. “Sentencing [him] to death would ensure endless appeals, substitute vengeance for justice, and risk letting him become a martyr.”

Two arguments, according to the board, exist for forgoing a capital punishment sentence: legal and philosophical. To address the first, the Globe’s board feels Tsarnaev’s lawyers presented facts that “should plant compelling seeds of doubt”: his age, heavy drug use, and no prior criminal record.

As for philosophical concerns, even death-penalty proponents agree the punishment should be saved for the worst of the worst. “Dzhokhar wasn’t even the worst of the Tsarnaevs,” the Globe writes.

The board isn’t alone in its logic either.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) doesn’t think Tsarnaev should face the death penalty.

“My heart goes out to the families here, but I don’t support the death penalty. I think that he should spend his life in jail. No possibility for parole. He should die in prison,” she said Thursday on a CBS talk-show.

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