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June 25, 2015

Boston marathon bomber apologizes to victims


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev unexpectedly addressed the courtroom at the formal sentencing to acknowledge his role in the 2013 Boston marathon bombing for the first time.

After listening to victims and their families talk about the impact his actions had on their lives, Tsarnaev stood up, saying he wished more survivors had come to speak and admitting he and his brother were responsible for the bombings. He also asked for forgiveness from Allah.

In May, a federal jury sentenced Tsarnaev to death. According to WGBH reporter Emily Rooney, who has covered the trial from its start, Tsarnaev spoke solemnly with a Russian accent and was difficult to hear at times. Rooney said the speech was awkward and appeared to be written down.

“He said, ‘In case there’s any lingering doubt, it was me and my brother who did this. We are guilty,’” Rooney said.

Many of the bombing survivors suffered physical injuries such as hearing loss or the loss of limbs, while others continue to struggle with the psychological effects. After Tsarnaev spoke, several survivors gave their reactions.

Lynn Julia, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and hearing loss, said it felt insincere and forced.

Henry Bogard, a survivor who has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, said he forgives Tsarnaev. “I have come to a place of peace and I genuinely hope that he does as well. And for me to hear him say that he’s sorry, that is enough for me,” Bogard said.

Warm up questions
  1. What do you know about the Boston marathon bombing?
  2. What makes someone a terrorist?
Critical thinking questions
  1. Why do you think Tsarnaev addressed the survivors in court?
  2. Why do you think it was hard to find jurors in Massachusetts for this trial?
  3. What is the purpose of the death penalty? Do you think it is the right punishment for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
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