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Sister of slain MIT officer opposes death penalty for Tsarnaev

MIT Police Officer Sean Collier AP/File/Associated Press

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should not be sentenced to death, said the sister of MIT police Officer Sean A. Collier, who was shot to death while he sat in his patrol car a few nights after the bombings.

Executing Tsarnaev, who was found guilty of Collier’s death, would not bring her “peace or justice.”

In a posting on Facebook and on her Twitter account, Jennifer L. Lemmerman wrote that she continues to mourn the loss of her younger brother, who was widely lauded after his murder.

Lemmerman, a graduate of Boston College School of Social Work and an alderwoman in Melrose, wrote that she will never forgive Tsarnaev for ending her brother’s life.


But, she also wrote, she does not believe in the death penalty even after what has happened to her and her family.

“Whenever someone speaks out against the death penalty, they are challenged to imagine how they would feel if someone they love were killed. I’ve been given that horrible perspective and I can say that my position has only strengthened,’’ she wrote on her Facebook account.

“It has nothing to do with some pursuit of forgiveness. I can’t imagine I’ll ever forgive him for what he did to my brother, to my family, and I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life, whether he is on this earth or not,’’ Lemmerman wrote of Tsarnaev.

She added, “But I also can’t imagine that killing in response to killing would ever bring me peace or justice. Just my perspective, but enough is enough. I choose to remember Sean for the light that he brought. No more darkness.’’

A family spokesman said Lemmerman would not discuss her comments further, and her posting is no longer visible on her Facebook page.

Tsarnaev was convicted of 30 criminal charges, including 17 that carry the death penalty, for participating in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent murder of Collier as he sat in his marked police cruiser on the Cambridge campus.


During the trial, jurors saw surveillance video showing Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, sneak up behind Collier and attack him in a failed attempt to steal his service pistol.

The second phase of Tsarnaev’s death penalty trial is set to start April 21.

At that time, the jury will reconvene and listen to federal prosecutors present evidence they say warrants putting him to death.

The defense will ask that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be sentenced to life imprisonment for the attacks.

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.