Attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said in a court filing Thursday that his alleged “betrayal of the United States” should not be a factor when considering whether he gets the death penalty.
The filing in US District Court in Boston says that since 1988, the federal government has said it wanted to seek the death penalty against 493 defendants.
“But in not one of the 492 cases before Mr. Tsarnaev’s has the government cited the fact of a defendant’s American citizenship, the way he became a citizen, any aspect of his immigration history, or his enjoyment of the freedoms of an American citizen as a reason to sentence him to death,” attorneys said in the filing.
Tsarnaev, anaturalized citizen,immigrated to the US from Russia with his family in 2003.
The 20-year-old and his late brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev are accused of planting the terror bombs that killed three and wounded more than 260 others at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held in a federal prison at Devens. He faces the possibility of execution if convicted.
Federal prosecutors referred to Tsarnaev's alleged “Betrayal of the United States,” as a reason for pursuing the death penalty.
“[Tsarnaev] received asylum from the United States; obtained citizenship and enjoyed the freedoms of a United States citizen; and then betrayed his allegiance to the United States by killing and maiming people in the United States.”