Tsarnaev Juror Changes Mind About Death Penalty

He didn't know 8-year-old victim's parents opposed it
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2015 4:41 AM CDT
Tsarnaev Juror Changes Mind About Death Penalty
This undated photo provided by Bill Richard shows his son, Martin, in Boston.   (Bill Richard via AP)

During the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, jurors saw and heard heartbreaking testimony about the final moments of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest person killed in the Boston Marathon bombing. What they didn't hear about was the fact that Martin's parents didn't want Tsarnaev to get the death penalty, and the first juror to speak about the case says he wouldn't have chosen death if he had known. Kevin Fagan tells WMUR that he "probably" would have changed his vote in the penalty phase of the trial—though if he had known, he "wouldn't be on the jury either" because they had been ordered not to access media coverage of the trial.

Martin's parents, whose daughter lost a leg in the bombing, didn't want Tsarnaev to get the death penalty because they didn't want to have to relive the horror through the inevitable years of appeals. Northeastern University law professor Daniel Medwed tells the Boston Globe that Fagan's change of heart probably won't play a major role in any appeal because there's plenty of precedent for judges not allowing testimony on victims' views of the death penalty. Fagan is co-authoring an online book about the trial, and Medwed says "the fact that he is selling a book makes me discount what he says." (In the James Holmes case, the grandfather of a victim says the courts should go after the juror who spared Holmes' life.)

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