The penalty phase of the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will begin on April 21, one day after the 2015 Boston Marathon, the race he and his brother attacked two years ago.
In a one-page order issued Friday afternoon, US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. noted that because a jury this week convicted Tsarnaev on all 30 counts — 17 of which carry the possibility of the death penalty — the trial will continue to a second phase, when the jury will hear witness testimony before determining whether Tsarnaev will be sentenced to death or life in prison.
O’Toole said Tsarnaev’s defense team had asked for about two weeks’ time “to resolve outstanding logistical issues with a number of potential witnesses.’’
Jurors will be in court next Tuesday morning for a brief scheduling meeting, the court said.
O’Toole does not mention the 2015 Boston Marathon in his order, but the Boston Athletic Association has scheduled the race for its usual day, Patriots Day, celebrated on the third Monday in April.
The April 21 start date for the penalty phase also means that the trial will not be in session on April 15, the second anniversary of the bombing at the 2013 Marathon for which Tsarnaev has now been convicted. Two bombs detonated near the Marathon finish line killed three and wounded more than 260 others. Tsarnaev was also convicted in the shooting death of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean A. Collier.