By a wide margin, Boston residents favor life without parole instead of the death penalty for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if he is convicted of the attack, a Boston Globe poll found.
The poll, conducted Sept. 5 through Sept. 12, showed that 57 percent of respondents support a life sentence for Tsarnaev, compared with 33 percent who favor the death penalty. Although capital punishment is barred in Massachusetts, Tsarnaev has been indicted on federal charges, including using weapons of mass destruction, that could bring the death penalty.
Federal investigators say that Tsarnaev, 20, and his brother, Tamerlan, detonated two pressure cookers packed with explosives near the finish line of the Marathon on April 15. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured, many seriously. Tamerlan died April 19 in a shootout with police in Watertown.
The random telephone poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center for the Globe and included responses from 704 adults in Boston. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
“I’m a strong opponent of the death penalty because I feel it serves no purpose. It’s not a deterrent,” said Lawrence Watson, 49, of Dorchester, who participated in the survey. “In my opinion, individuals who commit murder don’t think about the penalty, or they think they’re so clever that they will get away with it.”
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