Catholic bishops oppose death penalty for Tsarnaev

Religious leaders say Tsarnaev will no longer be able to cause harm

Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As a federal jury deliberates in the first phase of the Boston Marathon bombing trial, the Catholic Church is reiterating its stance on the death penalty.

Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, and the bishops of the state’s two other Catholic dioceses in Worcester and Fall River, released a statement saying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev‘s freedom has been taken away after a terrible crime, and he will never again have the ability to cause harm.

They recalled a statement from U.S. Bishops in 2005 that said, “no matter how heinous the crime, if society can protect itself without ending a human life, it should do so.”

Tsarnaev’s lawyers admitted that he conspired with his brother to bomb the Marathon, and planted one of two pressure-cooker bombs that exploded that day. But they argue his brother Tamerlan was the mastermind of the attack.

Three people were killed and 260 others were injured in the attacks, while MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed days later during the manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers.

The death penalty is not legal in Massachusetts, however Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains eligible for capital punishment, because the case is being tried in federal court.

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