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Boston Marathon Bomber Apologizes to Families at Final Court Hearing

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke in court Wednesday for the first time about the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon. “I would like to apologize to the victims and the survivors,” he said. “I did do it.”

Last month a federal jury sentenced Tsarnaev to death, bringing to an end the trial-and-sentencing stage. Today, U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. formalized that punishment, saying, “I sentence you to the penalty of death by execution.” Tsarnaev will return to death row and await a firm date for his execution by lethal injection, which may take years.

Before the judge spoke, Tsarnaev addressed the families of those he and his brother, Tamerlin, who died shortly after the bombings, killed and maimed two years ago. It was the first time he had spoken aloud in court, other than when he entered his not-guilty plea. “I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering I have caused, and for the terrible damage I have done,” he said.

After Tsarnaev finished, Judge O’Toole tried to put his crimes in perspective. “As long as your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you’ve done,” he said. “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.”

The bombs took the lives of three people (Martin Richard, 8; Lingzi Lu, 26; and Krystle Campbell, 29) and injured scores more, many severely. Tsarnaev was also sentenced to life in prison for the killing of M.I.T. officer Sean Collier, who had confronted Tsarnaev as police engaged in a manhunt for him after the bombings.

Also speaking at the hearing, providing “victim impact statements,” were two dozen survivors and relatives of victims. One, Rebekah Gregory, lost her leg that day. “Terrorists like you do two things in this world,” she said. “One, they create mass destruction, but the second is quite interesting. Because do you know what mass destruction really does? It brings people together. We are Boston strong and we are America strong, and choosing to mess with us was a terrible idea.

“How’s that for your victim impact statement?”

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