Boston suicide bombers Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly set off two pipe bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. Days later, in addition to the bombings, they also murdered a policeman.
While Tamerlane was killed by police in a shootout, Dzhokhar was convicted on 30 counts. The jury that found him guilty gave him the death sentence for the bombings that killed three and injured more than 260 in Boston. However, the death penalty was later overturned after President Joe Biden’s administration suspended capital punishment as part of federal prosecutions.
Now a Hulu documentary titled The murders before the marathon, will ask investigative journalist Susan Zalkind to connect Boston bombers to a horrific triple murder that took place in Waltham on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Zalkind will search for potential underlying secrets surrounding Waltham’s triple murder case.
The murders before the marathon airs on Hulu this Monday, September 5, 2022 at 12 p.m. ET.
Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s death sentence was overturned earlier this year
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Justice Department in its appeal of a 2020 federal appeals court judgment that upheld Tsarnaev’s guilt as one of the Boston suicide bombers, but overturned his sentence death row, voting 6-3 in favor of the state. Tsarnaev won’t face a death sentence anytime soon given President Joe Biden’s administration’s ban on capital punishment in federal cases.
The US First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has been criticized by the Supreme Court for its ruling that Tsarnaev’s right to a fair trial was violated and that the judge in question improperly withheld important evidence related to a separate crime. Three of the court’s liberal justices strongly disagreed, but the other six conservative justices had a majority.
Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas reportedly said:
“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes. The Sixth Amendment nevertheless guaranteed him a fair trial by an impartial jury. He got one.”
The defense of Djokhar Tsarnaev argued that he was only the accomplice of his brother, described as an “authority figure” with “violent extremist Islamic beliefs”, in the attack. They claimed that as a result, information related to a separate crime that Tamerlan allegedly committed would be crucial to the case.
Judge Stephen Breyer reportedly agreed and said:
“This evidence may have led some jurors to conclude that Tamerlane’s influence was so pervasive that Dzhokhar did not deserve to die for any of the actions he took in connection with the bombings, even those taken in out of Tamerlane’s presence.”
“And it would have taken only a change of mind from a juror to produce a sentence other than death, even if it were severe.”
The Supreme Court later determined that the judge hearing the case did not violate Tsarnaev’s right to a fair trial by failing to sufficiently screen potentially biased jurors following widespread media coverage of the explosions.
Boston suicide bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently serving in a federal prison in Colorado, seeking a stay of execution for his role in the Marathon bombings.
Learn more about the Boston Bomber Affair in Hulu’s upcoming docuseries, The murders before the marathon.