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Justice Department asks for Boston bomber's death sentence to be reinstated

A federal appeals court overturned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentence last year. File Photo by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
A federal appeals court overturned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentence last year. File Photo by the Federal Bureau of Investigation

June 16 (UPI) -- The Justice Department has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people.

The Tuesday request comes despite President Joe Biden's opposition to the death penalty and expectations he may ban the punishment at the federal level.

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A federal appeals court overturned Tsarnaev's death sentence in July, ordering a new penalty phase trial for his murder conviction. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal agreed with defense attorneys who said the judge who oversaw the original case didn't properly screen jurors for potential biases.

Tsarnaev's lawyers said two of the jurors posted strong opinions on the case on social media before the trial began. One of them, the jury's foreperson, described the defendant as a "piece of garbage."

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In March, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case to determine if Tsarnaev's death penalty should be reinstated.

Tsarnaev was convicted on 30 counts for his role in the bombing, which also injured more than 260 people. His brother, Tamerland Tsarnaev, who also was involved in the bombing and subsequent manhunt, was killed by police during their attempt to capture the men.

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The Tsarnaev brothers set off two bombs near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. They also killed a police officer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology days later while on the run from authorities.

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The jury unanimously decided to sentence the younger brother to death during the 2015 trial.

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