Dzhokar Tsarnaev is formally being sentenced to death during a court hearing on Wednesday for the part he played alongside brother Tamerlan — who was killed in the following manhunt — in the devastating Boston Marathon bombing two years ago.
During the hearing, the 21-year-old spoke in court for the first time to apologize to the victims of the terribly tragedy. He said:
“I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done, irreparable damage.”
He also completely admitted his guilt, saying:
“If there is any lingering doubt, I did it along with my brother. I ask Allah to have mercy on me, my brother and my family.”
This was part of a five-minute speech he delivered to the judges during the hearing. He also explained that he had listened to all of the victims who addressed him that day and commended their strength.
The first person to speak to the bomber was Patricia Campbell, whose daughter Krystle was one of the three people killed in the attack. She spoke directly to Dzhokar, saying:
“What you did to my daughter is disgusting. I don’t know what to say to you. I think the jury did the right thing.”
Bill Richard, whose 8-year-old son Martin died and whose young daughter Jane lost a leg in the bombing, spoke about how his child’s murderer could have prevented the entire thing:
“He could have changed his mind the morning of April 15, 2013, walked away with a minimal sense of humanity and reported to the authorities that his brother intended to hurt others. He chose hate. He chose destruction. He chose death. This is all on him.”
Another family member of a fallen victim shared her contempt for the pain Dzhokar caused. Jennifer Rogers‘ brother was MIT police office Sean Collier, who was killed by the brothers while they were on the run. Jennifer told the court:
“When I’m angry I am furious, when I’m sad it is debilitating. I will never have a complete and happy family again. I do not know the defendant nor do I care to know him. He is a coward and a liar. ├óΓé¼┬ª He bought milk after setting off a bomb to kill children.”
Federal Judge George O’Toole Jr. quoted William Shakespeare as he sentenced Dzhokar to death, saying:
“One of Shakespeare’s characters observes, ‘The evil that men do lives after them. The good is often interred with their bones.’ So it will be for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.”
Even though the first time the attacker spoke up in court was to formally apologize for what he’s done, this is one of those things “sorry” just can’t fix.
Apologizing won’t bring back the lives lost, the limbs amputated, or heal the emotional and psychological trauma.
Our hearts are with the victims, the city of Boston, and everyone affected by this horrifying tragedy.
[Image via AP Images.]