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Judge orders Boston Marathon bomber's stimulus check can be used to pay his victims

Death sentence overturned for Boston Marathon bomber
Appeals court overturns death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber 40:02

A U.S. District Court in Boston has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to turn over the stimulus check of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. The $1,400 COVID relief payment that Tsarnaev received in June, as well as other funds being held in his inmate trust, will be used to for outstanding payments to his victims, according to court documents.

Tsarnaev, now 28, is currently serving a life sentence following the 2013 bombing, which killed three people and injured 260 when two pressure cooker bombs were set off near the Boston Marathon's finish line. Tsarnaev acted with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police three days later.

In addition to his death sentence, Tsarnaev was ordered to pay $3,000 special assessment and $101,126,627 in criminal restitution, and has paid $2,202.03 so far, according to the court documents.

He has also received money from individuals which has been deposited into his inmate trust account. "After the Defendant's sentencing, deposits into the Defendant's inmate trust account became more frequent," the documents read. The payments include the COVID relief payment and multiple deposits from individuals living in Indiana, New Jersey and Maryland.

As of December 22, 2021, he had approximately $3,885.06 in his inmate trust account, according to the documents. Tsarnaev is not making payments to his victims, but has made payments to other third parties and sent money to his siblings for items such as "gifts," "support," and "books." 

The U.S. attorney's office in Boston argues the government has a duty to collect restitution owed to crime victims and under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act. Tsarnaev has not reported the funds he has earned, as required under this law. 

The Crime Victim Rights Act also affords victims of crime the right to full and timely restitution as provided in law. So the U.S. attorney's office argues that the requested money from Tsarnaev is reasonable, "especially in light of the Defendant prioritizing payments to his siblings over the victims of his crimes."

Tsarnaev was originally sentenced to death, but the death sentence was overturned in July 2020 by a federal appeals court that said the judge who oversaw the case did not adequately screen jurors for potential biases. 

Last year, the Justice Department under President Biden asked the Supreme Court to restore Tsarnaev's capital sentences. A decision from the high court is expected by this summer.

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