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Jurors In Boston Bombing Trial Deliberate On Sentence For Second Day

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Getty Images
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

A jury in Boston deliberated for about 50 minutes on Wednesday as jurors tried to decide whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should spend the rest of his life in prison or face the death penalty.

NPR member station WBUR reports they deliberated after hearing closing arguments from the prosecution and Tsarnaev's defense lawyer.

Per WBUR's David Boeri, the prosecution argued:

"'The defendant knew what kind of hell would be unleashed and he intended to kill people,' prosecutor Steve Mellin told the jurors in closing. It was a replay of what the prosecution had said at the beginning of the first phase of this trial, which ended with Tsarnaev convicted on all 30 terrorism counts — 17 punishable by death. ...

"At one point Mellin's breath caught. At another he stared at jurors and held silent for 20 seconds, then told them Tsarnaev had waited for 12 times longer while standing behind the Richard family on Boylston Street, knowing the bomb he had placed between him and them was going to explode after he walked away.

"'Killing the innocent was the whole point,' Mellin said. 'It's the way you terrorize an entire population.'"

Defense attorney Judy Clarke did not, David reports, ask for sympathy. Instead, she asked for understanding. WBUR reports:

"Referring to her client and the philosophy of 'an eye for an eye,' Clarke said, 'Even if you believe that's who he was, that's who he is, that's not who we are.'

"Giving him life in prison, she said, 'is a sentence that reflects justice and mercy. Mercy is never earned. It is bestowed. I ask you to make a decision of strength that demonstrates the resilience of this community. We ask you to choose life.'"

The jury will continue to deliberate at 9 a.m. ET. WBUR will tweet any developments as they happen:

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.