Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's apology Wednesday for his role in the attack that killedthree people and wounded more than 260. rang hollow to victims and loved ones of those he helped kill.
"I just was unaware that he would get up and just say whatever he wanted, and that's the law," Lynn Julian, a bombing survivor, said at a press conference outside the courthouse where he was sentenced to death. "And I regret having ever wanted to hear him speak because what he said showed no remorse, no regret and no empathy for what he's done to our lives."
Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to die for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, told the federal court that he is sorry for those he killed in the attack and the suffering he caused. Though he sat stone-faced during his trial, he was given the option to address the court at the formal sentencing. Legal experts initially did not expect him to take up the offer because he had little to gain since the judge was required to impose the jury's death sentence.
But Tsarnaev admitted that he was guilty and told the court that he prays to Allah about the victims and that they are able to heal. He also told the court that he asks Allah to have mercy on him and his brother.
"All those who got up on that witness stand and that podium relayed to us, to me — I was listening — the suffering that was and the hardship that still is, with strength, with patience, with dignity," he said.
Scott Weisberg, an Alabama physician who suffered a head injury and hearing loss, said Tsarnaev's apology "does not change anything" for him.
"I don't think it was genuine," he said, pointing out that he is still required to adjust to his new life that includes hearing aids and bouts with PTSD.
Julian said she would have preferred a sincere apology.
"A simple, believable apology would have been great," she said. "There was nothing simple about what he said and there was nothing sincere."
"I sentence you to the penalty of death by execution"
- U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr., shortly after Tsarnaev addressed the court
In May, a jury condemned Tsarnaev to die for joining his older brother, Tamerlan, in setting off the two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line and for killing an MIT police officer as they fled. Tamerlan, 26, was killed during the getaway.
Tsarnaev's lawyers admitted he participated in the bombings but argued that Tamerlan was the driving force behind the attack. Tsarnaev, 21, said almost nothing in court since his arrest more than two years ago, offering neither remorse nor explanation.
He wore a dark sports jacket with a collared shirt and no tie. He appeared impassive earlier in the day as he chatted with his lawyers before the start of the hearing that also included statements from victims and family members.
About 30 people spoke at the sentencing in federal court. Outside the courthouse, a man was detained after police reportedly found a large knife inside a parked SUV. MyFoxBoston.com reported that the Honda did not have a license plate and parked in a restricted area. Police are investigating.
Inside the courtroom, however, it was a foregone conclusion: U.S. District Judge George O'Toole was required under law to impose the jury's death sentence for the April 15, 2013, attack.
Bill Richard, whose 8-year-old son, Martin, was the youngest person killed in the bombing, said Tsarnaev could have backed out of the plot and reported his older brother to authorities.
Instead, Richard said, "He chose hate. He chose destruction. He chose death. This is all on him."
Tsarnaev, who was seated between his lawyers at the time, looked down as Richard spoke.
Richard noted that his family would have preferred that Tsarnaev receive a life sentence so that he could have had "a lifetime to reconcile with himself what he did that day."
Richard said his family has chosen love, kindness and peace, adding: "That is what makes us different than him."
Sister Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun whose story was told in the 1995 movie "Dead Man Walking" met with Tsarnaev five times since March at the request of the defense. She testified in March that he expressed genuine sorrow about the victims.
"No one deserves to suffer like they did," Prejean quoted him as saying.
After Tsarnaev spoke, O'Toole quoted Shakespeare's observation "The evil that men do lives after them" and told Tsarnaev that no one will remember that his teachers were fond of him, that his friends found him fun to be with or that he showed compassion to disabled people.
"What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people, and that you did it willfully and intentionally. You did it on purpose," O'Toole said.
"I sentence you to the penalty of death by execution," he said.
Tsarnaev looked down and rubbed his hands together as the judge pronounced his fate.
Henry Borgard, another bombing survivor, addressed the media after the sentencing and said, "I have forgiven him. I have come to a place of peace and I genuinely hope that he does as well. And for me hear him say that he's sorry; that is enough for me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report