Survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing had a variety of reactions Friday to a call by the parents of one victim to spare convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the death penalty.
Bill and Denise Richard, the parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester, the youngest victim of the blast, argued against the death penalty in an opinion piece published Friday on the front page of the Boston Globe.
Kevin Corcoran, whose wife and daughter were grievously wounded in the April 2013 bombing, said he still supported the death penalty for Tsarnaev.
While the Richards had argued that sentencing the 21-year-old Tsarnaev to death would lead to years of appeals that would keep the pain of the bombings alive, Corcoran said, "If he's dead ... end of story."
The Richards have a daughter who lost a leg in the bombing and another son who survived.
Two bombs were detonated near the race's finish line in the April 15, 2013, terror attack, killing three people and wounding more than 260 others, including 17 who lost limbs. Tsarnaev has been convicted. Next week a second phase of his federal death penalty trial begins in which a jury will decide whether Tsarnaev should get the death penalty or life without parole.
Corcoran's wife, Celeste, lost both her legs in the bombing. She is likely to be a lead witness in the next phase. Corcoran's daughter, Sydney, almost bled to death from a shrapnel wound in her thigh.
Corcoran said he was concerned that if Tsarnaev lives, he could communicate and possibly influence someone.
"The political demographic is working against me here in Massachusetts, unfortunately," he said. "I don't believe he will be executed. I can only hope."
Corcoran said the Richards had it "totally backwards." If Tsarnaev is sentenced to life in prison, he would, rather than fade from memory, "be in their children's lives forever," Corcoran said.
Marc Fucarile, who lost much of his right leg in the bombing, said he had gone back and forth about what sentence he preferred.
Before the trial, he told the Globe that he would prefer Tsarnaev to be sentenced to life in prison. The death penalty, he said, would let him off too easily.
Ultimately, though, no punishment could ever suffice, he said.
"He's probably happy and proud of what he did," he told the Globe in January.
On Friday, he declined to comment on the Richards' statement.
"I respect the Richards," he said. "I admire their strength. I love that family, and I have the utmost respect for them. They did what they had to do."
He added, "I think there are pros and cons about both a life sentence and a death sentence. My thoughts change constantly. They really do. I don't really want to comment on it."
Karen Odom, whose husband, John Odom, endured 11 operations for the shrapnel that severed arteries in both of his legs, said she and her husband agreed with the Richards.
"We want to see him rot in prison the rest of life," she said.
She was standing next to her husband during the attack but came away without a scratch. He lost so much blood that his heart stopped beating twice. His sciatic nerve was destroyed, and he required 23 units of blood, more than twice the amount the average person has in their body. His doctors said it was the most they had ever given a patient who survived.
"We're not against the death penalty; we just think the death penalty is too good for him," she said. "We'd rather see him in jail forever."
The other two people killed in the blasts were:Krystle Marie Campbell, 29, who grew up in Medford and was a well-known restaurant and event caterer; and Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China;
Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, also murdered MIT Police Officer Sean Collier several days later as they tried to flee the region to wreak more havoc in New York City. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a violent confrontation with police in Watertown.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a self-radicalized Muslim who graduated from high school in Cambridge. The defense appears poised to argue in the second phase of the trial that he should be spared the death penalty because he was under the sway of his older brother.