Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s appeal of his death sentence is likely to focus on the judge’s refusal to move the trial out of Boston and the prosecution’s barrage of heartbreaking testimony from more than a dozen victims of the attack.
While the case will probably take years to wend its way through the courts, legal observers say there are some obvious grounds for challenging the punishment handed out by the jury Friday to the 21-year-old former college student for the 2013 bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers fought to get the trial moved, warning that too many people had personal connections to the marathon or the tragedy and that the anguish in Boston was just too powerful to find an impartial jury. But U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr. rejected all four change-of-venue motions, and a federal appeals court backed him, 2-1.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers may also argue that the judge allowed too many amputees and others who were hurt in the bombing to describe their traumatic experiences and severe injuries in great detail.