Published January 30, 2014
Federal prosecutors said Thursday they will seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombing.
The final decision was made by Attorney General Eric Holder and was announced Thursday.
"After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant’s counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter," Holder said in a statement.
"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," the statement read.
The twin blasts in April killed three people and wounded more than 260 in one of the most prominent terrorist attacks in the U.S since 9/11.
"Today, United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. authorized the government to seek the death penalty in the case of United States v. Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. We support this decision and the trial team is prepared to move forward with the prosecution," U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said in a statement after the announcement.
"A short time ago, the government filed with the Court the required notice of intent to seek the death penalty. The case will now continue to proceed through the pretrial process and the next scheduled court event is a status conference set for February 12, 2014," the statement read.
Prosecutors allege that Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, ethnic Chechens from Russia who had lived in the Boston area for about a decade, planted two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police.
"While I understand the public interest in this matter, we have rules that limit the release of information and the scope of public statements. The process by which this decision was made is confidential, and I will not comment further about that process other than to say that it entailed a careful and detailed consideration of the particular facts and circumstances of this case," Ortiz said in the statement.
Seventeen of 30 charges against Tsarnaev carry the possibility of the death penalty, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.
The 20-year-old Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.