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Supreme Court to rule if Boston Marathon bomber should face death penalty

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was originally sentenced to death, but the punishment was changed to life in prison on appeal. File Photo by FBI/UPI
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was originally sentenced to death, but the punishment was changed to life in prison on appeal. File Photo by FBI/UPI

March 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear arguments on whether the death penalty should be reinstated for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after an appeals court ruled against the punishment.

A three-judge panel from the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed last summer that Tsarnaev's trial judge failed to adequately question jurors about how deeply they followed media coverage of the bombing.

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The appeals court changed Tsarnaev's death sentence to life in prison.

Tsarnaev was accused of planting the bombs near the finish line with his brother, Tamerlan, during the Boston Marathon in 2013. Their explosives killed three people and injured hundreds. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police a few days later.

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will determine whether the appeals court erred in its ruling -- and whether the original court committed an error during the penalty phase of Tsarnaev's trial by excluding evidence that his brother was involved in different crimes.

Defense attorneys argue that those separate crimes demonstrate that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was domineering and violent and effectively forced his brother to go along with the Boston Marathon plot.

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Manhunt for Boston marathon bombing suspects

Barbara Faherty waves an American flag and cheers on the police with her neighbors moments after the last of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects was caught on Arsenal Street in Watertown, Massachusetts on April 19, 2013. Monday's Boston Marathon bombing left three dead and over170 injured. UPI/Matthew Healey | License Photo

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