Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 charges in Boston bombing

G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Special for USA TODAY12:01 p.m. MST April 8, 2015

(Photo: Jane Flavell Collins, AP)

BOSTON — Dzokhkar Tsarnaev was found guilty Wednesday on all 30 federal counts in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing case and faces a possible death sentence.

He was convicted of a string of charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of the 30 counts carried a possible death penalty

The twin bombings on April 15, 2013, left three people dead and 260 injured. A fourth person, a security officer was killed during a six-day manhunt for the suspects that brought the stunned city to a standstill.

Tsarnaev, flanked by his three lawyers, showed no emotion while the verdict was read, mostly staring at the defense table and occasionally looking straight ahead. At one point the 21-year-old college student crossed his arms as federal Judge George O'Toole read the lengthy verdict.

The courtroom was silent as each count came down as "guilty."

Although some bombing victims and families of victims were present in the courtroom, there was no rejoicing nor smiling.

The faces of the jurors, who returned their verdict after two days, were likewise sober, as O'Toole reminded them that "you are still a jury."

O'Toole said the penalty phase, in which the same seven-woman, five-man jury will weigh a possible death penalty for Tsarnaev, could begin "early next week."

As the jury left the courtroom, Denise Richard, mother of Martin, the 8-year-old killed in the bombing, wiped tears from both eyes.

The outcome of some kind of guilty verdict was in little doubt after the defense acknowledged that Tsarrnaev had placed a pressure-cooker explosive device in the crowd near the finish line of the annual race on Boston's Boylston Street.

The defense had argued that while Tsarrnaevr was involved, he was manipulated by his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a police shootout as the manhunt unfolded.

None of the four defense witnesses suggested that Tsarnaev was innocent.

"We are not asking you to go easy on Dzhokhar," defense attorney Judy Clarke said in her closing argument Monday. His actions "deserve to be condemned. And the time is now."

Prosecutors described Tsarnaev as a true believer in the cause of radical, violent jihad to avenge what he saw as harm by the United States against Muslims.

"The plan was to make this bombing as memorable as it could possibly be," Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said.

Prosecutors called 92 witnesses over 15 days, including double amputees and the 8-year-old boy's father. They presented a trove of more than 4,000 hours of surveillance footage that left little doubt about the Tsarnaevs' culpability, not only in the marathon bombings but also in the murder of MIT officer Sean Collier.

"He still wrote that manifesto in the boat when the brother was no longer around," Coyne said. That body of evidence, he said, was likely "very damaging."

Judge O'Toole met earlier with attorneys for both sides for about 30 minutes to address the questions raised by the seven-woman, five-man jury, which deliberated for more than seven hours Tuesday before ending the day without a verdict.

The charges against Tsarnaev — totaling 30 counts — fall into four main categories. Twelve pertain to two pressure-cooker bombs used at the marathon.Three other charges dealt with conspiracy; another three covered the fatal shooting on April 18, 2013, of MIT security officer Sean Collier.

The final 12 addressed what happened after Collier's murder, including a carjacking, robbery and use of improvised explosives against Watertown, Mass., police officers.

Here are the facts in the case against Boston Marathon Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

O'Toole began Wednesday's proceedings by reading the jurors' questions, one of which had two parts, and delivering his answers.

"Can a conspiracy pertain to a sequence of events over multiple days or a distinct event?" was the first question.

"Duration is a question of fact for you to determine," O'Toole told the jury. It could be limited to one event or apply to more than one. Tsarnaev is charged with conspiracy in three counts, all of which name four victims who were killed during the week of April 15, 2013.

Jurors also asked whether they need to consider all the subclauses in each count, or if reaching unanimity on the overall question of guilt for that count is sufficient.

O'Toole said they must consider every subclause only if they determine Tsarnaev is guilty on that charge.

The jury's last question sought clarification on the difference between aiding and abetting. Twenty-five of the 30 counts charge Tsarnaev with aiding and abetting, sometimes in conjunction with a broader charge.

"Aiding and abetting is a single concept," O'Toole told the jury. "Aiding and abetting means to intentionally help another person commit a criminal offense."

Even when a defendant isn't fighting the charges, jurors still need time to work through each question, says Michael Coyne, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law.