Marathon victim’s family opposes death penalty for Tsarnaev

Bill and Denise Richard say the ensuing appeals could prolong their pain

FILE - This undated photo provided by Bill Richard shows his son, Martin Richard, in Boston. Martin Richard, 8, was the youngest of three people killed in the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Richard)

BOSTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – Bill and Denise Richard, parents of the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, are asking federal authorities to take the death penalty off the table for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted in the case.

Martin Richard, 8, was one of three killed by the April 2013 explosions at the Boston Marathon’s finish line. His parents, in a front-page piece in Friday’s Boston Globe, claim a death sentence would make for a long, painful appeals process.

“We understand all too well the heinousness and brutality of the crimes committed. We were there. We lived it,” the piece stated. “The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives. We hope our two remaining children do not have to grow up with the lingering, painful reminder of what the defendant took from them, which years of appeals would undoubtedly bring.”

The Richards continued: “This is a deeply personal issue and we can only speak for ourselves. … We believe that now is the time to turn the page, end the anguish, and look toward a better future — for us, for Boston and for the country.”

The penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial will start Tuesday under U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr.

Tsarnaev was convicted on 30 counts, 17 of which carry the possibility of the death penalty, for his role in the April 15, 2013 bombing, as well as the shooting death of MIT Police officer Sean Collier and the ensuing chase.

The Richards also thanked everyone responsible for bringing Tsarnaev to justice.

“We are eternally grateful for the courage and life-saving measures of first responders, Boston Police, the Boston Fire Department and good Samaritans on April 15, 2013,” the Richards stated. “We also thank the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice and the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office for leaving no stone unturned during the investigation and trial.”

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