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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday that he hopes the death penalty verdict for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will bring some level of comfort to the victims of the attack, even though he knows Boston will be forever changed.
"At this point in time I hope this represents some kind of closure for all of those who were affected by this tragedy," Baker said during a news conference following the delivery of the verdict.
A jury in Boston on Friday voted to execute Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 on April 15, 2013. An MIT police officer was also killed during a crime spree carried out by Tsarnaev and his co-conspirator older brother, Tamerlan, in the days after the bombing. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police.
Tsarnaev, 21, will be formally sentenced by a judge this summer.
Baker said he recognized that the verdict doesn't erase the tragedy from Boston's memory. "It will be a long time before this episode and everything that came with it lands in my rearview mirror," Baker said. "It’s changed the marathon and, by definition, changes Boston a little bit as well."
When asked if he thought the death penalty was the right decision, Baker said it wasn't his decision to make.
"We’re a nation of laws here, and under our nation of laws, juries make the call," Baker, who is a supporter of the death penalty, said. "From my point of view, while I certainly had an opinion on this, my opinion didn’t really matter," he said.
"I think the fact that they (the jury) made a unanimous decision speaks to the significance of the acts that were performed here," Baker said.
He also thanked the jury, the victims and law enforcement who responded to the bombing and the aftermath, which left four people dead and more than 260 injured. Baker also commended Boston for showing "tremendous resilience and enormous sense of community."
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— Elisha Fieldstadt