BOSTON, June 24 (UPI) -- Survivors and relatives of the three people killed at the Boston Marathon two years ago finally heard bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev speak on Wednesday, but some believe his words lacked sincerity and remorse.
Tsarnaev was allowed to speak at Wednesday's formal sentencing hearing. After listening to people injured in the April 2013 attack and families of those killed, he spoke for the first time in court -- in the form of an apologetic statement that made multiple references to Allah, the deity at the center of Tsarnaev's Islamic faith.
"I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and most gracious," he said, WBZ reporter Jim Armstrong tweeted during the hearing. "This is the blessed month of Ramadan, a month to ask forgiveness of Allah and express gratitude to Allah.
"I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors. I am guilty of the bombing, let there be no lingering question about that."
Nearly 300 people were hurt on April 15, 2013 when two pressure cooker bombs detonated near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Three spectators, Krystle Campbell, 29, Lu Lingzi, 23, and Martin Richard, 8, were killed. Two police officers also died from injuries received during the massive manhunt that followed.
"I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, the sorrow I have caused," Tsarnaev continued. "I've learned their names, their faces, their age, and throughout this trial, more of the victims were given names." (Read Tsarnaev's full statement)
The public hasn't heard anything from Tsarnaev over the past two years, and he was silent for the entirety of his trial until Wednesday's sentencing -- at which he was formally given the death penalty.
Speaking to reporters at a subsequent news conference, some said they weren't impressed by Tsarnaev's statement.
"We didn't know what he sounded like, after two years. When we heard it, we wished we hadn't," survivor Lynn Julian said.
"He went on to give a sort of Oscar-type speech thanking the judge and thanking the jury and thanking his legal team and those who couldn't be here and his family for testifying and making, and I quote, 'making my life easy for the past two years,'" she continued. "Well, our lives have been anything but easy and our lives will never be the same again."
Julian sounded particularly disdainful at the way Tsarnaev spoke and said she doubted that any of his words were sincere.
"He threw in an apology to the survivors that seemed insincere, and just thrown in because he was supposed to," she said. "I regret ever having wanted to hear him speak, because what he said showed no remorse, no regret and no empathy for what he has done to our lives."
"It really does not change anything for me, because what he took from me I'm never going to be able to regain," said survivor Scott Weisberg, who says he sustained a traumatic brain injury, hearing loss and continues to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the attack.
"What you did to my daughter is disgusting," Campbell's mother, Patricia, said to Tsarnaev in court as a line of survivors and relatives delivered victim impact statements. "I don't know what to say to you."
"We are Boston Strong, we are America Strong, and choosing to mess with us was a terrible idea," Rebekah Gregory, who lost a leg in the attack, said. "So hows that for your victim impact statement?"
Gregory was the last person to address Tsarnaev before the judge handed down the death sentence. She looked and pointed at him during her remarks, and defiantly told him that she is not his victim.
"We have no words to express what today means to us," William Richard, Martin's father, said. "He could have stopped his brother. He could have changed his mind. He chose to do nothing."
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz indicated that she was more struck by what Tsarnaev didn't say.
"He didn't renounce terrorism, he didn't renounce violent extremism, and he couched his comments in line with Allah and Allah's view, which gave it a religious tone, and there was nothing ... about this crime that was Islam-associated," Ortiz said.
The government asked for the forfeiture of all of Tsarnaev's assets, for court costs to be imposed and for Tsarnaev to pay restitution for victims.
Tsarnaev's case marks the first time the federal government has achieved a death penalty sentence since the Sept. 11 attacks in a terrorism case. There has been a moratorium on federal executions since 2011 pending a review of the government's protocol by the Justice Department.