Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty of all 30 charges against him in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.
The jury came to its verdict after a longer-than-expected 12 hours of deliberations that began Tuesday morning.
Mr. Tsarnaev stood with his defense team as each verdict was read. He showed little reaction as the court clerk took almost 30 minutes to read all 30 verdicts, folding his hands in front of him or tucking his shirt into his belt. Family members and victims also watched on in silence, including Bill and Denise Richard, parents of 8-year-old victim Martin.
Once the entire verdict was read, Judge George O’Toole reminded the jurors that they’re “still an active jury.”
“You may not discuss your deliberations with anyone, even each other,” he added. “There’s another task ahead of us we have to look forward to.”
The trial will now move to a second sentencing phase. The same jury will decide whether Tsarnaev will be sentenced to death or to life in prison – the only two possible verdicts. A death sentence would require unanimous agreement from the jurors.
On Tuesday afternoon, the jury asked Judge O’Toole two questions that seemed to illustrate some confusion over the 30 charges Tsarnaev faced. The jury wanted to know if a “conspiracy” can take place over the course of several events, as well as the difference between “aiding” and “abetting.”
O’Toole said that according to the prosecution’s indictment, the “conspiracy” formally existed from Feb. 13, 2013, to April 19, 2013 – the day Tsarnaev was captured in Watertown, Mass. He added, however, that it was up to the jurors to decide the scope and duration of the conspiracy based on the facts they’d heard in the case.
Aiding and abetting, he continued, “is a single concept.”
“To aid and abet means to intentionally help someone commit a criminal offense,” he said.
While the overall verdict was not surprising – a third of the jurors in the trial acknowledged during the selection process that they’d already formed an opinion on Tsarnaev’s guilt – some specific decisions stand out.
Tsarnaev was found guilty of all charges, as well as all injuries and deaths associated with the charges. He was found guilty of using six weapons – two pressure-cooker bombs, three pipe bombs, and a Ruger P95 handgun. He was also found guilty in the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier, the carjacking of Dun Meng, and the injuring of transit officer Richard Donohue.
With the “aiding and abetting” charge, Tsarnaev was able to be found guilty of crimes committed directly by his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
His defense team is expected to argue in the sentencing phase that Tamerlan was the mastermind behind the attacks and pressured his brother into participating.
Before dismissing the jurors for now, O’Toole told them the court will move to begin the sentencing phase “expeditiously.” But, he added, the second phase would not begin until next week at the earliest.
“The schedule is as yet undetermined,” O’Toole said.
“I’ll repeat my usual cautions,” he added. “Don’t read any news reports about the case. There will probably be some today.”