Legal expert: "I was stunned" by Tsarnaev apology

Boston bomber apologizes to victims during sentencing

To the surprise of many, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev broke his silence in court by confessing to his crime and apologizing to the victims.

"I was stunned. I think that there is no less word," CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said Thursday on "CBS This Morning." "No one, no legal expert expected him to speak at all. His speech has nothing for him to gain."

Some survivors were outraged by his speech; others accepted his apology. Many speculated whether he was being sincere.

As CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reported, it was the first time the 21-year-old's voice had been heard in federal court, other than when he entered his not-guilty plea. On a day where he received six death sentences and 20 life terms without parole, Tsarnaev apologized.

"Immediately after the bombing, which I am guilty of -- if there's any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more. I did do it along with my brother -- I learned of some of the victims. I learned their names, their faces, their age," Tsarnaev said in court, calling them "good souls."

"I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done. Irreparable damage," he added.

Sentenced during the holy month of Ramadan, Tsarnaev also asked Allah for forgiveness.

"The real nugget here is this: If you were his defense lawyer, do you second-guess yourself? Do you wonder if you had put him on in the penalty phase that you might have swayed one juror? It only took one juror for life imprisonment," Klieman said. "Or do you realize that your decision was correct? That he could have never withstood cross examination?

"And why do we know that now? You heard Carmen Ortiz, who was the U.S. attorney. She was not happy with his statement. She thought it made no difference. She was disgusted by it. Why? Because he didn't renounce terrorism. He didn't renounce Islamic extremism. He invoked Allah as a religion, that he has belief in the month of Ramadan and forgiveness. And what she said is that, in essence -- my word -- it's a perversion of what Islam is supposed to be about."

Boston Globe columnist reacts to Tsarnaev's apology in court

For Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, who covered the trial from Day 1 and watched the sentencing from the overflow courtroom, he was struck by Tsarnaev's accent.

"It was an affected accent. It was something we had never heard before. If you talk to people who know Dzhokhar Tsarnaev before all this, he did not have an accent, but he had quite a noticeable accent yesterday as he spoke," Cullen said.

He described it as an accent of someone who spoke Russian and Arabic as their native languages.

"The words were as unexpected as the accent," Cullen said.

Theoretically, his apology should not affect the appeals process at all, Klieman said, but "none of us can forget what we've heard or at least what we've read."

"When you deal with what we look at here, this carnage, that these victims who survived, or relatives of victims, their power and their ability to go forward ... will still carry the day, that our sympathy is with them and not with this young man," Klieman said.