The 21-year-old Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who was found guilty in April, and convicted by a jury in May on 30 criminal accounts of being responsible for the death of three people and injuring 260 others has been formally sentenced to death today by a federal judge.  

Last month’s unanimous decision by the jury for the death penalty overrode appeals by the defense who argued that Tsarnaev was acting under the directions of his older brother. Tsarnaev’s verdict is the first time since 9/11 that federal prosecutors have won the death penalty in a terrorism case. Tsarnaev has also been charged with the murder of Sean Colier, an MIT police officer who was killed while looking for Tsarnaev and his brother.

Tsarnaev will be the youngest person on federal death row. In addition he has been awarded 19 life sentences (11 without the possibility of parole). The likelihood of Tsarnaev actually being executed remains to be seen.

Since modern death penalty laws went into force, only 75 people have received a federal death sentence. Of those, only three have been carried out: Timothy McVeigh for the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, Juan Raul Garza for the murder of three drug dealers in Texas, and Louis Jones, for the kidnapping and murder of a young female soldier in Texas. This does not include state legislation

In addition, there is a currently a "a moratorium on executions" because the Justice Department is reviewing its federal death penalty policy. Feds also report that they currently do not have the drugs needed for lethal injections because of this ongoing review.

Tsarnaev wil be serving his term at Terre Haute, Indiana where the federal government’s death row is located. He has been notified by the judge that he has the right to appeal, and should he choose to do so his case will most likely be bogged down by years of appeal. 

Cover: Wikipedia