Life sentence waste of money

Published 10:30 am Thursday, April 9, 2015

Justice has been done in Boston, but it’s not finished.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty in the Boston Marathon terrorism bombing.

The verdict Wednesday was no surprise.

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Everyone in the country already knew that Tsarnaev and his dead brother planted two bombs in the crowd at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

Even Tsarnaev’s defense team acknowledged that he took part in the act of domestic terrorism that killed three and wounded 260 others.

After 16 days and 95 witnesses, it took the jury just 11 hours to render their verdict on the 30 federal counts against the 21-year-old.

Gulity, guilty, guilty…. Seventeen of those guilty verdicts carried death penalties.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers knew that 30-0 guilty verdict was coming. Their only hope has always been to save him from the death penalty.

For the next several weeks, during the sentencing phase of the trial, they’ll try to persuade the seven women and five men of the jury that their client’s miserable young life should be spared.

He had a bad home life. He was made fun of in school. He was under the control of his evil older brother who did all the planning and force-fed him radical Islamist ideology.

It might work. If just one juror out of 12 votes against the death penalty, Tsarnaev will be spared and he’ll get life without parole instead.

That would be a shame, because I really hope he gets the chair — or whatever method federal prosecutors end up choosing if the time comes.

I also hope to God that if he is sentenced to die, justice is carried out as fast as possible.

Otherwise, the whole country — but especially the families of the dead and the physically and psychologically battered survivors of the bombing — will be kept waiting while the legal appeals process drags on.

It’s already been too long. It’s been almost two years since Tsarnaev was caught.

The names of the three innocents his bombs killed — Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard, who was 8 — have been largely forgotten by the rest of us.

Has anyone outside Boston ever heard the names of the 17 people who had their arms or legs blown off?

Meanwhile, the name Tsarnaev — a name that should be forgotten by the world as soon as possible — haunts the whole country.

It must be hell in Boston. As long as he is alive, his victims will be forced to relive the worst moments of their lives over and over as his appeal crawls through the judicial process.

Even if he gets the death penalty, it won’t happen quick. It never does, except maybe in Texas.

No matter how obviously guilty a murderer is, or how horrible their crime was, justice drags on and on. Especially on the federal level.

Since the federal government reinstated the death penalty in 1988, it has sentenced 74 people to death.

Today 61 remain on the federal government’s death row. About 35 have been there at least 10 years. Three of those death sentences have been carried out.

Many of the people Tsarnaev hurt and their families will die of old age before the justice system gets around to give him what he deserves, even if it’s death.

I don’t want Tsarnaev to be alive 10 years from now.

I wish they could just take him out back of the courthouse tomorrow, shoot him or hang him, and get it over with. But that won’t happen.

Giving him a life sentence is a waste of money, but it might be the best and quickest way to rid ourselves of Tsarnaev forever.

We’d never see his face or hear his name in the news again until he dies.


Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). Send comments to Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.