A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who with his brother placed two pressure-cooker bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260.
WBZ-TV reported that a panel of three judges for the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the decision to order a new penalty phase in the case.
The appeals court stated that in his trial, Tsarnaev’s jurors were not properly vetted for bias by the presiding judge.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is located in Boston, where Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan placed bombs near the finish line of the marathon on April 15, 2013.
The brothers later shot and killed MIT police officer Sean Collier, execution style, while they were on the run.
In its ruling, the appeals court affirmed that Tsarnaev, now 27, would never see freedom and that only his sentence had been overturned.
“Dzhokhar will remain confined to prison for the rest of his life, with the only question remaining being whether the government will end his life by executing him,” the court wrote in its ruling.
Collier, who was only 27, was shot in the head.
The actions of the brothers initiated a manhunt in the Boston area that led to Tamerlan ultimately being killed during a shootout with police.
Tamerlan also was run over by Dzhokhar, his own brother, as the younger Tsarnaev escaped from the scene.
Dzhokhar was wounded in the gunfight and later was found hiding in a boat in a backyard by a task force of local and federal officers.
Dzhokhar was sentenced to death in 2015 and is being held at the ADX super- maximum-security federal prison near Florence, Colorado.
He was convicted on 30 charges, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Attorneys for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev previously said two jurors in his trial had made social media posts that showed they harbored resentment for the then-19-year-old suspect, WBZ-TV reported.
One of those posts referred to the accused killer as a “piece of garbage.”
Attorneys for Tsarnaev have yet to comment on the court’s ruling.
Ed Davis, the Boston Police commissioner at the time of the bombing, now works as an analyst for WBZ.
Davis told the outlet he is “not surprised” by the court’s decision.
“I am concerned though that the victims have to relive this incident by this ruling,” he said.
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