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Boston Marathon Bombing Jury Asks Questions, Breaks for Day

The seven women and five men of the Boston Marathon Bombing jury began to weigh 30 criminal counts against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
/ Source: NBC News

The jury weighing whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should face the death penalty for the 2013 terror attack broke for the day and will resume deliberations Wednesday.

The panel of seven women and five men began deliberations earlier Tuesday, and at 4:40 p.m. were called back to the courtroom and dismissed by the judge. Jurors sent back two questions. What the jury asked was not revealed.

Tsarnaev, 21, faces 30 criminal counts covering the twin blasts at the race's finish line, which killed three and injured 260, plus the killing of an MIT police officer three days later, a carjacking and a shootout in suburban Watertown, Massachusetts, where Tsarnaev's older brother and alleged co-conspirator died.

Of those counts, 17 carry the death penalty. If Tsarnaev is found guilty of any of them, the trial will move to a second phase to decide whether he should be executed.

A conviction on at least some counts is all but assured because Tsarnaev's defense team acknowledged on the first day of the trial that he was responsible. Their strategy is to save him from the death penalty by persuading the jury that he was manipulated by his radicalized Muslim brother, Tamerlan, 26.

Prosecutors argue that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a willing and equal partner and had become radicalized himself.

The trial began March 4. Federal prosecutors called dozens of witnesses and showed graphic video and photographs of the bombings and their aftermath. Tsarnaev's lawyers called just four witnesses, evidence technicians who described fingerprints and digital evidence that tied the bombs and bomb-making materials to Tamerlan.


— Tom Winter, Andy Thibault and Jon Schuppe