Jury selection entered its fourth day in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged Boston bomber. The federal trial has already been running behind schedule, and Tuesday’s snow is not helping to move matters along.
Nearly 200 jurors were questioned by the end of court Monday, a day that was slated for opening statements in the terror trial. Snow Storm Juno has shut down courts across Massachusetts Tuesday.
Tsarnaev is charged with carrying out the deadly 2013 bombing, which killed three people and injured 264 others.
Opening statements have been delayed due to trouble finding impartial jurors. It’s unclear when they will commence.
Prospective jurors on Monday gave thoughtful and seemingly honestly feedback about their stance on the death penalty. If jurors find Tsarnaev guilty, they will be tasked with the heavy decision of sentencing him to either life in prison or execution.
The 185th juror to be questioned, a single mother who works in risk management, said she believes the right to a fair and impartial trial is “probably the most important right we as individuals have. She said she favored a life in prison ruling over execution, but not for humanitarian reasons.
“To be thrown in with the dregs of society, to live the rest of your life with rapists and murderers to me is a fate much worse than death. We all face death,” said Juror number 185 of the death penalty. “I don’t think that death is necessarily the greatest punishment of them all.”
The following juror, a woman, said she was not so much concerned about the time commitment of the trial as she was about her judgemental coworkers who believe you must be “dumb” if you can’t get out of jury duty.
“I feel like I’d be criticized for not getting out of jury duty. It’s hard to explain,” she said.
That juror also said said she formed her opinion of Tsarnaev’s guilt based on surveillance video from Lord & Taylor that was released to the public in the wake of the bombings. The video allegedly showed Tsarnaev and his brother carrying two backpacks near the Boylston Street finish line
Additionally, she said “the fact that he was literally right there with a gun in hand” during a Watertown shootout days after the bombing had an influence on her.
That juror said she could bring herself to vote in favor of the death penalty.
“I think there are some crimes that are so heinous that if a person is found guilty then the death penalty is warranted,” she said.
As in all other days in court, Tsarnaev appeared bored and detached in court – even when the subject of his possible execution was on the table. He wore a dark jacket, and his hair appeared shorter than in previous court dates. In a few instances, Tsarnaev wrote on a yellow legal pad as jurors were questioned.
It was unclear as of deadline whether jury selection would resume Wednesday.