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US will seek to reinstate death penalty for Boston Marathon Bomber, says Attorney General

An image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, age 19, previously identified as Suspect 2 in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. (FBI/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. Justice Department will seek to reinstate the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the ethnic Chechen convicted of killing three people and injuring hundreds of others during the 2013 Boston Marathon.

An appeals court in Boston on July 31 overturned the death sentence that had been handed to Tsarnaev in 2015.

The court ordered a new trial to determine what penalty Tsarnaev, 27, should receive, finding that the judge who oversaw the case did not sufficiently vet jurors for biases.

Attorney General William Barr said on August 20 in an interview with the Associated Press that the Justice Department would appeal the court’s ruling.

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“We will do whatever’s necessary,” Barr said. “We will take it up to the Supreme Court and we will continue to pursue the death penalty.”

An attorney for Tsarnaev, David Patton, declined to comment, according to AP. Patton said after the appeals court decision that it was up to the government to decide whether there should be a second trial, or whether to allow “closure to this terrible tragedy by permitting a sentence of life without the possibility of release.”

A federal jury found Tsarnaev, 27, guilty of all 30 counts he faced and sentenced him to death in just over two years after the attack at the finish line of the marathon.

Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a gunbattle with police a few days after the bombings.

The defense acknowledged that the brothers carried out the attack but sought to portray his Tamerlan as the radicalized mastermind and Dzhokhar as the impressionable younger brother.

Prosecutors said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was just as culpable in the attack, which the perpetrators said was meant to punish the United States for its wars in Muslim countries.