Rachael Rollins would seek death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if Merrick Garland orders that path

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Rachael Rollins would seek death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if Merrick Garland orders that path
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U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins says she would seek the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if Attorney General Merrick Garland pursues capital punishment for the terrorist.

After the convicted bomber’s death sentence was thrown out by an appeals court in 2020, the Supreme Court is now looking at whether that ruling from the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston was wrong.

Following the eventual Supreme Court ruling, if Garland wants Rollins to go for the death penalty, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts said she would pursue that punishment.

“Correct,” Rollins responded to that question on GBH News’ Boston Public Radio on Monday.

Massachusetts doesn’t have the death sentence for local crimes, but people tried federally can still face it. Tsarnaev had been sentenced to death, but an appeals court threw that penalty out last year, and the Supreme Court will decide whether the sentencing phase of the trial has to be redone.

Tsarnaev could end up back destined for the death penalty or life in prison. The terrorist has been behind bars in the Colorado Supermax prison for his role in the bombing that killed three people and injured 264 near the finish line of the 2013 marathon, and the subsequent murder of an MIT police officer days later.

“When we get that ruling from the United States Supreme Court, the first thing we’ll do is speak to our victims,” Rollins said.

“When we talk about Tsarnaev, before you hear my voice about any decision that the United States Supreme Court makes, we will be speaking to our victims — of which there are hundreds — to make sure that they understand the process and what happens,” she later added. “And then we’ll make sure the rest of our community knows what it is that happened.”

Rollins said she’ll meet with the Department of Justice after the Supreme Court decision, and then the team of people that tried the bombing case.

“And we’re going to make a decision, if asked by the Department of Justice what our position is, after speaking with our victims,” Rollins said. “We’ll make an informed decision moving forward.”

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