The scales of justice cannot be balanced by taking another life. Yet, the jury has decided that the fate of 21 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be death.
In a thick and disturbingly heavy room, the twelve jurors (made up of five men and seven women) listened to the verdict imposed upon Tsarnaev. The death penalty was decided upon after a long and emotionally taxing sixty one days of testimony. Several of them in tears and one male juror even keeled over with the weight of his guilt on his back. The judge’s clerk tried to clear the courtroom as quickly as possible before any outbursts erupted – but it was clear that the sentiments of everyone present were turned to stone.
It was the hopes of the jury that the death of this young man would bring peace and closure to the families of the victims. For some, it is clear that it will. Liz Nordon, whose sons were maimed in the Boston Marathon Bombing was in favour of the death penalty and shed tears of relief upon hearing the outcome was as she wished. However, not all the victims were equally liberated by the verdict. Bill and Denise Richard’s son, Martin (8 years old), was killed in the events. Yet the couple was strongly opposed to Tsarnaev facing the death penality and were frozen upon hearing the ruling.
Like many, I believe paying for crimes with life is too expensive a price. The message that Boston wants to send is that terrorism won’t be tolerated. And while that message is important and should be fervently spread – that is NOT the message that this judgement sends. Capital punishment sends the message that life can be used as a bargaining tool. That the value of life can be measured and used like currency.
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Steve Mellin, gave the closing arguments reminding everyone of the “river of blood” that Tsarnaev left behind him that day. Killing this young man won’t drain the blood from the streets of Boston…it will merely flood it with more.
Professor Daniel Medwed of the Northeastern University Law school spoke up saying he believes this ruling could stretch out at least for a decade with countless appeals to reduce the sentence to life in prison. Tsarnaev needs to pay for his crimes and the lives that he has ruined, but in order for him to pay for those crimes …he needs to be alive. An eye for an eye? That doesn’t work…
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” – Mahatma Gandhi