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Boston Marathon bombing victims react to Tsarnaev death sentence

BOSTON -- Reaction was swift and wide-ranging Friday afternoon from survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings and those who lost loved ones after a jury sentenced convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to the death penalty.

Jury sentences Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two pressure-cooker bombs packed with shrapnel exploded near the marathon finish line April 15, 2013.

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, also killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer days later before a shootout with police that left Tamerlan dead.

The same jury convicted Tsarnaev last month of all 30 federal charges against him, including use of a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of those charges carried the possibility of the death penalty.

Dic Donohue, an MBTA Transit Police officer who nearly bled to death during the shootout, recently returned to the force and was promoted to sergeant on Friday.

"Just over two years after the events that impacted us as a community and a nation, we can finally close this chapter in our lives," Donohue said in a statement. "The verdict, undoubtedly a difficult decision for the jury, gives me relief and closure as well as the ability to keep moving forward."

Donohue's wife Kim was among the many who expressed their thoughts about the sentence on Twitter.

Roseann Sdoia, who lost part of a leg when the second bomb went off, told CBSN it didn't matter to her whether Tsarnaev got the death penalty or not.

Boston bombings survivor reacts to Tsarnaev death sentence

"For me, it's not going to change my life [in] any way much," Sdoia said by phone. "For me, I'm just moving forward and trying to put it behind me, and the more it's discussed, the more that it's in the way. So, for me it was just -- glad that it was over."

Celeste Corcoran lost both legs, and her daughter Sydney nearly died due to blood loss.

"We are glad it's over and we can continue with our healing," Celeste Corcoran told CBS Boston.

Sydney Corcoran posted several tweets, including one that read, "My mother and I think that NOW he will go away and we will be able to move on. Justice. In his own words, 'an eye for an eye.'"

"My heart is with our entire survivor community," tweeted Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a professional dancer who lost her left leg in the blasts. "I am thrilled with the verdict!"

Rebekah Gregory, who ran the Marathon again last month with a prosthetic leg, said she was "completely numb" and that her "heart and prayers are with my Boylston Street family."

The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the Marathon, also released a statement.

"We have always placed our full confidence in the justice system and the decisions of this jury," BAA Executive Director Tom Grilk said. "And while another chapter may be over, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who lost their lives, the families of the victims, and the survivor community."

Lengthy appeals process likely for Tsarnaev

On Friday afternoon, the 21-year-old Tsarnaev stood with his hands folded upon learning his fate, decided after 14 hours of deliberations over three days in the nation's most closely watched terrorism trial since the Oklahoma City bombing case two decades ago.

CBS Boston station WBZ-TV reporter Jim Armstrong was in the courtroom, sitting just behind Tsarnaev, when the verdict was read.

"From what I could see behind him, he just stared straight forward," Armstrong said. "Our producer in overflow said he could see Tsarnaev's face and it registered, from what he could tell, absolutely no emotion at all."

The gallery was instructed to not show emotion as the verdict was read. "Just picture absolute silence in this courtroom," Armstrong said. "There wasn't a word spoken, although I did hear some gasps inward."

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A recent CBS News poll showed a majority of Bostonians are against Tsarnaev paying with his life.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the sentence "a fitting punishment for this horrific crime."

The decision sets the stage for what could be the nation's first execution of a terrorist in the post-9/11 era, though the case is likely to go through years of appeals. The execution would be carried out by lethal injection.

The 12-member jury had to be unanimous for Tsarnaev to get the death penalty. Otherwise, he would have automatically received a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Tsarnaev's father, Anzor Tsarnaev, reached by phone by the Associated Press in the Russian region of Dagestan, let out a deep moan upon hearing the news and hung up.

Tsarnaev did not take the stand at his trial, and he slouched in his seat through most of the case, a seemingly bored look on his face. In his only flash of emotion during the months-long case, he cried when his Russian aunt took the stand.

The only evidence of any remorse on his part in the two years since the attack came from the defense's final witness, Sister Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun and staunch death penalty opponent made famous by the movie "Dead Man Walking."

She quoted Tsarnaev as saying of the bombing victims: "No one deserves to suffer like they did."

Tsarnaev's lawyers also called teachers, friends and Russian relatives who described him as a sweet and kind boy who cried during "The Lion King." The defense called him a "good kid."

The defense argued that sparing his life and instead sending him to the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, would be a harsh punishment and would best allow the bombing victims to move on with their lives without having to read about years of death penalty appeals.

U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. will formally impose the sentence at a later date during a hearing in which bombing victims will be allowed to speak. Tsarnaev will also be given the opportunity to address the court.

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