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Tsarnaev attorneys ask judge to nix death penalty

Defense attorneys for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday asked a federal judge to strike down the death penalty, calling it unconstitutional.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pictured in photographs released by the FBI. Photo: FBI handout Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pictured in photographs released by the FBI. Photo: FBI handout

Defense attorneys for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday asked a federal judge to strike down the death penalty, calling it unconstitutional.

In court filings in US District Court, Tsarnaev's attorneys pointed to the fact that execution is not permitted In a Massachusetts, and said that the decision to attack the crowded marathon shouldn't be an "aggravating factor" in determining punishment.

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They also argued that Tsarnaev may not have been indicted on 30 counts related to the bombing if the grand jury had anticipated he would be subjected to the death penalty if convicted.

Tsarnaev, 20, is being held at a Devens prison awaiting trial in the 2013 bombing, in which he and his late brother allegedly planted two pressure cooker bombs by the finish line, killing three and injuring more than 260.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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