A federal appeals court ruled on Friday to vacate the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who along with his brother planted homemade bombs near the finish of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three spectators.
The court also ruled to set aside three of his 30 convictions but said he will remain in federal prison for the rest of his life.
The appeals judges ruled US District Court Judge George O’Toole, who oversaw Tsarnaev’s trial, “fell short” of his promise to question jurors thoroughly enough to identify prejudice, “providing sufficient ground to vacate his death sentences.”
Tsarnaev’s legal team had pushed to change the venue of the trial to a courthouse that wasn’t so close to the site of the bombing, in the heart of a town so affected by the tragedy.
Two of the three judges from the US Court of Appeals didn’t agree with that argument, citing a defense expert’s poll that showed that only 36% of people in Boston favored the death penalty for Tsarnaev before the trial.
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