, BOSTON, Apr 21 – Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will return to court for the start of his sentencing trial Tuesday when prosecutors will demand that the American jury condemn the 21-year-old to death.
The Muslim of Chechen descent was convicted in US federal court earlier this month on all 30 counts related to the 2013 marathon bombings, the murder of a police officer, a car jacking and a shootout while on the run.
The sentencing trial opens one day after more than 27,000 people took part in this year’s marathon in Boston, which is still reeling from the memory of the attacks, the deadliest on US soil since 9/11.
It also comes as a growing number of survivors oppose the death penalty for Tsarnaev, a then teenage student, who with his elder brother Tamerlan killed three people and wounded 264 others in the bombings.
Married couple Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, who each lost limbs, this week joined the parents of the youngest victim, an eight-year-old boy, to call for life without parole or appeal instead.
The couple told The Boston Globe newspaper that sentencing Tsarnaev to life without parole and appeal was the best means of “assuring that he disappears from our collective consciousness as soon as possible.”
The second stage of the trial, which is expected to last up to four weeks at the federal court in the northeastern US city, will see both prosecutors and defense attorneys call witnesses.
Neither side has announced who they will call to the stand.
– Who will testify? –