BOSTON, United States, Jun 25 – Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologised to his victims for the first time at a highly emotional court hearing Wednesday where he was formally sentenced to death for the 2013 attacks.
The US citizen of Chechen descent was sentenced to death on six counts for perpetrating the Marathon bombings, one of the bloodiest assaults on US soil since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“I would like to now apologise to the victims and to the survivors,” said the 21-year-old former university student in his first public remarks since the April 15, 2013 bombings that killed three people.
“I am guilty,” he said in a slight Russian accent, standing pale and thin in a dark blazer. “Let there be no doubt about that.”
“I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering, the damage that I have done,” he said, couching his remarks in the name of Allah and asking for God’s forgiveness.
Judge George O’Toole officially imposed the death sentence, which had been reached unanimously by a 12-person jury on May 15 after prosecutors painted Tsarnaev as a remorseless terrorist.
“I sentence you to the penalty of death by execution,” O’Toole told Tsarnaev, before he was led away by US Marshals.
Tsarnaev will eventually sit on federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana, but prosecutors say he could be sent first to America’s only “super-max” prison, ADX Florence, in Colorado.
Defence lawyer Judy Clarke told the court that Tsarnaev had offered to plead guilty last year, but Wednesday’s remarks were the first time that her client had expressed any remorse in public.