Boston Marathon Bomber's Lawyers Want Conviction Overturned

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2018-12-27

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Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are asking a federal appeals court to overturn his conviction and death sentence imposed for his role in the 2013 attack.

In a 500-page brief the lawyers argued that Tsarnaev did not receive a fair trial because the presiding judge refused to move the case away from the city where the bomb exploded, killing three people and wounding more than 260.

"Tsarnaev stood accused of notorious crimes. The bombings were the subject of constant and widespread publicity, which included coverage of matters that would never be admitted at trial,'' the lawyers wrote. "Virtually every single prospective juror was familiar with that publicity, had been personally affected by the crimes and their aftermath, and thus had formed negative, entrenched preconceptions about Tsarnaev's guilt and the appropriate sentence,'' they said.

The lawyers acknowledged that Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan set off two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs near the Boston Marathon's finish line.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police four days after the bombing.

The lawyers also argued that defense attorneys should have been able to tell the jury about evidence tying Tamerlan to the killing of three people in the Boston suburb of Waltham in 2011. The defense sought to raise the issue of the killings to underscore their argument that Tsarnaev was under the influence of his more culpable older brother.

Tamerlan was never charged in the killings, which remain under investigation.