BOSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge rejected on Friday a request for a new trial for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, saying the issues his attorneys raised had been resolved prior to his trial last year.
Tsarnaev was sentenced last June to death by lethal injection for his role in the 2013 bomb attack, which killed three people and injured more than 260.
The judge also ordered Tsarnaev to pay more than $101 million in restitution to victims.
U.S. District Judge George O’Toole said the court had already resolved some factors Tsarnaev’s attorneys raised in seeking a new trial, such as their argument that it was impossible to seat an impartial jury in Boston due to intense publicity surrounding the attack.
“There is no reason to think that if the trial had been moved to another district, the local media in that district would not also have given it attentive coverage,” O’Toole wrote in his 37-page ruling.
He also noted that defense attorney Judith Clarke admitted in her opening statements that Tsarnaev, along with his older brother Tamerlan, carried out the attack, saying “It was him.”
The defense had focused on trying to spare Tsarnaev the death penalty, rather than prove his innocence.
The judge also rejected defense arguments that a new trial was justified by a Supreme Court decision, reached two days after Tsarnaev’s sentencing, that a U.S. law stiffening sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a gun was overly broad.
Tsarnaev, 22, is being held at the “Supermax” high-security prison in Florence, Colorado, while his attorneys appeal his death sentence.
He was last seen in public on June 24, when he said he was “sorry for the lives I have taken.”
His older brother, Tamerlan, who participated in the April 15, 2013 attack, died following a gunbattle with police three days after the bombing.
The two were inspired by al Qaeda’s militant ideology and used instructions from a magazine produced by the group to build their bombs, according to evidence presented at trial.
Martin Richard, 8; Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 26, and restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, died in the bombing. Three days later, the Tsarnaevs shot dead Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 26.
Legal wrangling over Tsarnaev’s fate could play out for years or even decades. Just three of the 74 people sentenced to death in the United States for federal crimes since 1998 have been executed.
Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by David Gregorio
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