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tv   News  Al Jazeera  May 15, 2015 3:00pm-3:31pm EDT

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>> this is al jazeera america. live from new york city. i'm tony harris. breaking news here from boston. a few moments away, we understand from a final decision a verdict in the penalty phase for dzhokhartsarnaev. the boston marathon bomber. we understand the jury has in fact reached a decision. this is a jury that's been working for some 14 hours. it was a month ago that tsarnaev was convicted on 30 federal charges. his guilt was never in doubt. never in question, in fact his attorney said, in opening statements that he did it.
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17 of those charges carry the possibility of the death penalty. so let's do this. let's go back to that chopper shop and take a look at the scene, a live view there, erica pitzi is with us, she's been covering the story for us. erica i mentioned jovment ago in the guilt phase there was never a question. >> no never a question. certainly the question here has been: does he deserve odie for what he did? >> right. >> that has been what this second phase has all been about. really the defense kind of didn't do much in that first phase, waited to give it all they got on that second phase. >> it's interesting you say that, you could argue they didn't do much but they did what they felt they needed to do to set up the arguments they were going to make in the punishment phase right.
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>> they set up -- >> we're not going to antagonize not cross-examine too closely. too extensively. >> you are talking about 150 witnesses over the course of this ten week trial and the prosecution during this first phase put up bombing victim after bombing victim who really went through such agonizing testimony. so no, we certainly did not see the defense cross examine these folks. they did not want to presently themselves in that way. let them tell the story. >> they didn't want to alienate the jury. they were admitting he did it. it was to try to, to the extent they could, save all of their powder for this phase. this was the phase where they were literally fighting for this man's life and this is where they were going to bring his fream in andfamily in and we saw that. i believe this is part of the trial you were in boston for
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that. >> we went to boston for that, it turned out to be very emotional, it was the first time we saw emotion from him. throughout that entire time, spending every single minute there, really seen him come in, dmomg at a saunter every time he entered into the courtroom. >> a little bit of a swagger. >> you wouldn't see him look at the witnesses on the stand he wouldn't do much. a lot of like looking down at the desk, looking straight ahead. but when his relatives from russia who were flown in to testify in his behalf, again relatives that hadn't seen him since he was a little boy. and they were saying he was so sweet, well, when they got up there, they saw him for the first time, breaking down crying
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on the stand and that's when it got to him you saw him wipe his eyes and he blew a kiss to one of his cousins who was weeping about. >> erica as you mentioned these were relatives who hadn't seen him since he was young the young boy. they hadn't had recent contact with him right? >> let's clarify you haven't seen him since he was eight years old a lot could happen. >> that was then this is now. during your coverage of boston we can roll that and continue our conversation. >> reporter: there is no doubt he did it, should he die for what he did? in april the jury convicted dzhokhartsarnaev for the
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aftermath of boston marathon. his brother tamerlan planted another backpack full of explosives nearby. both bombs set to explode almost simultaneously. three people died that way crystal campbell, lou lindsey and martin richard. 264 more people were injured some lost limbs. days later while on the run from authorities the brothers also shot and killed mit officer sean collier. short afterwards, tamerlan tsarnaev died in a shootout. authorities eventually caught dzhokhartsarnaev. he wrote notes where he said he didn't like killing innocent people but in this case it is allowed because america needs to be punished. that's the picture the
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prosecution painted throughout the trial as it pushed for death penalty as the only justice for the evil tsarnaev that day. bombing victims testified about the pain and suffering they experienced like double amputee celeste corcoran. who said i remember seeing so much blood where my legs were. the defense say he was young and under the strong influence of his older brother who was the true mastermind behind the bombings. tsarnaev relatives who flew in from russia testified through tears about the sweet young boy they remembered. as we said earlier, that is when we really saw him break down while his relatives got so emotional, other witness he witnesses
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talked about finding only tamerlan's the older brother's fingerprints. and sister helen prejean catholic nun, staunch death pendletonpenalty activist. she said he felt sorry for what he did. the jury has to look at intention, that is one of the key points looking at this verdict here, did he intend to do it and does he feel remorse? so that will be interesting to see what the jury hopefully decides. >> there was a moment if he
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wanted to testify in the punishment phase of this trial i'm i'll check that with antonio when we check with him there seems to be a moment where if his team wanted him to testify co-have articulated those words himself, he could have said i'm sorry or shown some remorse from the stand he didn't did he? which is totally within his rights to do, but he didn't. so it's interesting that the nun is speaking on his behalf and quoting him. so take me back if you would erica because you are from that area. talk to me about how devastating an occurrence this was how it shook this community. >> i grew up in the suburbs of boston we used to go to the boston marathon. every patriots day, this is a very patriotic thing odo to watch, you can go on the route
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heartbreak hill, it's a very unifying event for the entire marathon, this is a great unifying event people train for this all year. to make it to the boston marathon this is something that was just rafael devastating for this community. and -- just really really devastating for this community. >> are you emotional as we talk about this? >> i am. >> i can see! >> watertown where it all ended days later was under lock down, a suburb just outside of boston. >> we weren't on air then, where were you working? >> i was working for wpix, local here in new york and they sent up reporters right? we were just outside of watertown. , my cousin was texting me videos of oh my gosh, look
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what's going on in my tiny little quiet suburb, it was crazy. he was there with his wife and infant ant and it was really intense, so many people getting inside your homes the national guard knock on your doors everyone stay inside. because at this point again the brothers were -- >> wow you're putting me right back into that scene and antonio i'm sure you were on the air too at some point when all of this was in point. i was in doha, for waje, al jazeera english for hours as this story was breaking. i was asking erica a moment earlier, tsarnaev could have taken a moment, to testify in this phase that we're in now. he could have come forward. >> once he was guilty which really was never in question. >> never question.
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>> there was never a reason for him not to take the stand because it wasn't going to hurt him unless he was going to say something that was going to hurt his case in the penalty phase. he could have issued a statement without getting on the stand and said he was remorseful. instead the only reference to any kind of remorse was what you were talking about before, helen prejean, the nun from dead man walking, saying he expressed remorse. but as they said in their closing arguments they said the whole point of what he did was to kill innocents. >> how long can this process take here?
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we've gotten word that the word has reached a decision on sentencing. is this a process where now everywhere has given that notification now everyone has to get back to the courtroom to rereresemblereassemble? >> yes. in other high profile cases it is normally between an hour hour and a half two hours usually not much more than that. boston isn't the most why spread city so you have to imagine most of these people are in downtown boston and reachable fairly quickly. >> i'm wondering and acrea you did some reporting on -- erica you did some reporting on this, even though the facts were not in dispute. we know that this was a death penalty eligible case, this is something the prosecution sought
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in this case. the prosecution was seeking death in a state that doesn't necessarily believe in applying that ultimate sanction. >> right. you're talking about massachusetts which abolished the death penalty 30 years ago. even leading up to this trial people who were polled in recent polls. >> yes. >> massachusetts residents were saying leaning toward life in prison over the death penalty. the majority of residents. even in this case. even though we're talking about the convicted boston bomber. >> and antonio you have some thoughts on this? >> we just heard the judge is going through the verdict. checklist, in our printing here it is 30 pages long. they have to go through all 30
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counts, 17 of those counts are death penalty eligible. and so any verdict of giving him the death penalty on any one of those 17 is enough for him to get the death penalty. of course all you need the one juror to disagree and he will not get the death penalty. having served on two injuries in my life, i -- juries on my life i know how difficult it is to get unanimous verdicts. i would imagine he is either going to get the death penalty on all 17 or they'll find him -- give him life in prison. >> it is interesting 14 hours over two days which is roughly the same amount of time this same jury took during the guilt phase when that was all out there, they knew exactly what they were going to be deciding. >> 14 hours two days one way or the other? >> friday afternoon they wanted to get this done before the
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weekend, which often happens in these case cases. i don't know if we can read anything into that. they are going to have to go through every single one of these cases and discuss every single one of these and make a decision. if you have got someone who is dissenting, it can take a long lock time. >> erica talk about the city of boston, there is devastation of the attack, there is wrapping your mind around the idea that your city your town one of your most cherished events have been attacked in that way people have died. how do you think the community responded, boston strong? >> you're saying that, boston strong. people across the country people really coming together for this city.
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and so many people even sayings okay we are a year later we will go back to the mayor marathon. you're talk about 10,000 more runners the next year. >> okay, there are reports now they have found him in favor of the death penalty on a number of the counts. in favor of the death penalty. that is what i was just told. on counts one four 5'6", so on a number of these nine, ten 14, 15. so my guess is, it seems that what they're doing is they're finding for the death penalty on every single one of the counts that were death penalty eligible. >> okay, i'm getting a clarification on this. once the story is clear share it with all of us please now we're talking about mitigating factors. >> they're finding yes on all the mitigating factors. >> all i'm asking is you share it with all of us.
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>> let's be clear on what we're being told here. because it seemed i was told very clearly they were finding in favor of the death penalty. at this point that is not case? not -- not case. so we don't know yet exactly what's been found. >> right so what we're hearing is they were actually supposed to go through the mitigating factors before they move on to the aggravating factors and then the final sentencing was supposed to be the time line of this decision coming out. >> so we can be -- i don't know what the time line is, but there are still some steps that need to be carried out before we get to the ultimate decision of life or death here correct? clear to you? >> let me get clarity some of the mitigating factors eight of the 17 they found mitigating factors on on one of these questions. >> circulate we clarify what
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some of these mitigate factors are, can we put these questions out there did tsarnaev substantially plan, yes did tsarnaev kill and attempt to kill more than one person yes to all. so those are some of these questions that they are actually looking at. >> but here's my question. this is a jury and antonio correct me if i'm wrong here, and erica weigh in as well, this is a jury that can find in favor of all the mitigating factors in essence all of these things are true all these things true and still not decide for death correct? >> if they find that mitigating factors are present they might not find for death. they can still find mitigating
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factors and then still find the death penalty. >> and aggravating factors. >> one doesn't necessarily mean the other. >> exactly what i'm driving at. as we take a look at the live shot, we had an aerial before, now we've got both, of the courthouse in boston, what do you see here erica. >> what we have seen through a large part of this trial have been people protesting the death penalty. just a small group of people, i saw them when i was there just last week. but i'm not seeing them today. which is interesting. >> stay with these pictures here and i want you erica to talk about we had just started to think about reflect on boston after this attack. and how it came out of it. what other thoughts do you want to share with us as to how boston responded? >> you know this has been, i
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mean we're talking about two years and it is still really heavy up there. they had one of the -- >> did you feel it while you were there covering? >> absolutely. we had done a story on one of the libraries right that had done this beautiful exhibit on -- which was just a memorial. and it was incredible. all -- people had donated their sneakers that they ran in that day, boston strong writing on them and everything, really powerful to walk around there and i actually went to that exhibit with one of the survivors who had been severely injured in the bombings. and it was really intense. and so you're talking about you know, a year and a half later right? and even now two years later. it's still -- it still really seems like in a sense not to use a cliche but like it was yesterday. but then you've got victims'
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families eight-year-old martin richard his parents coming up in an op ed in the boston globe, we want this to end please give him life in prison so we don't have to continue through this appeals process and have to relive this nightmare. >> because if they do find in favor of the death penalty it will be immediately appealed. >> absolutely. >> it will be years and years and years. timothy mcvey was executed four years after he was found guilty which is relatively quick. if they do find for death penalty who knows what will happen. >> antonio, thank you we're going to bring jamie floyd in. thanks to antonio as always. mark furich, it is good to have you sir thanks for hustling up
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for us. >> my pleasure. >> thanks for being here, very short notice. what are your thoughts when the jury has reached a decision, walk us through the process now once the jury indicates to the judge that a decision has been reached, what happens next? >> i think they will hear them go through the very extensive verdict sheet, in the run up before my appearance, a bit of time before the ultimate verdict is rendered. then it will be delivered how it's going to come out. we have an issue here of weighing his youth which is a very substantial mitigating factor against mayhem that was caused in the wake of the offense. not so much the bombing itself but what happened afterwards with the chase and the boat and the police and that very sort of deliberate activity which is a significant, i should say
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aggravator. >> aggravating and mitigating, explain that to me. >> mitigating, reduced the severity of the crime and call for a lesser penalty calling life aggravator, the deliberate behavior the spree afterwards, the sort of pseudo-remorse that we've heard about if you want to call it that, and that would make the crime worse and call for a heightened penalty although there is no more heightened penalty than the ultimate one of course. >> weighing his youth is a potential mitigating -- >> his subordinate role in the offense we've heard about so frequently over the past number of weeks. >> so as you followed the trial how well did the defense make those arguments? >> well, i think as well as they could, under the circumstances as you pointed out earlier i think it's significant that this happened in a state like
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boston -- state like mchesz i should say that has -- state like massachusetts i should say community consensus notwithstanding the offense they are representative of their community and this is a very liberal state. even accounting for the horrific activity and deliberate activity that occurred after the bombing itself it would still surprise me if they voted in favor of death. although the lack of remorse coming from his mouth might give one pause. >> so erica let me bring you in on this. >> we are learning a bit more here about what the jury decided. to this question did tsarnaev demonstrate a lack of remorse yes to all. and then we are all learning that three jurors have concluded
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that disks dzhokhartsarnaev acted under the fluff his older brother tamerlan. >> so reread that last bit of information you just read. >> yes three jurors agreed that dzhokhartsarnaev acted under the influence of his older brother tamerlan. >> mark first then jamie. >> exactly what i alluded to a moment ago. i don't think there's any doubt that he was in a subordinate role and the brother was the moving force behind this in terms of it philosophically. but also, as i pointed to no more genuine remorse coming from his own mouth. that reflects exactly the dueling forces at work here for the jury to decide on between the aggravators and mitigators.
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>> what else erica. >> now we have learned that three jurors agree tsarnaev's brother planned led and instigated the bombing. >> what are we leading up to here jamie? >> the big question is whether they can find reach unanimity to impose death. that's why my instinct here, we don't want to jump the gun but my instinct that the instigators may have just edged out. >> just enough to have made an argument that is persuasive enough for -- >> we are in boston, we are in massachusetts we are in a state
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where evening death-qualified jurors are more open to hearing the factors in mitigation. as the facts come out of that courtroom it is at least they are grappling with that issue. >> what do you mean a death qualified jury? >> jurors have to be qualified before they can even hear a case. this is a big complaints on the part of the criminal defense bar and certainly those who pose the death penalty going into the case, you have people predisposed of the death penalty, in massachusetts less so. they are more open to the mitigating factors one presents when you get to the penalty phase and in the polling we've seen up to the penalty phase after the imposition of gilt in
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this case -- guilt in this case, people were not disposed to impose death. >> i want to get to erica. >> with or without the case, three jurors agree that he would have not committed the crimes. >> if not for the influence of his older brother he would not have done that according to three jurors that's what we're hearing. >> that's critical because intentionality is an aggravating factor as put forth by the prosecution. all three can't agree on aggravation or mitigation. they can be in agreement in terms of the unanimity but does point to the fact that there is lack of unanimity in the jury room. >> if you have got unanimity it might lead one to surmise at
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this point. okay. areva martin joins us on skype with us. areva, what are you taking, what are you surmising based on what we're reporting so far as to how this jury is doing its work? >> i'm surmising tony that this jury is grappling is very a very difficult time coming to complete agreement about what the outcome of this case should be. you and i talked about this case some time ago. and the fact that this was massachusetts and it was likely to be very difficult for massachusetts jurors to sentence him to death. and i think the defense attorney did the best job she could do in terms of trying to cause that jury to find those mitigating factors that would dictate that he be put, that the outcome be life in prison versus the death penalty. so i'm not all that surprised
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that we're hearing different jurors making different decisions about the mitigating and aggravating factors. >> so remind me again what's the name of the defense attorney working for dzhokhartsarnaev? anyone remember her name? >> judy clark. well-known extremely successful on death cases. >> i have a question on judy clark but erica what have you learned? >> we are learning that the jury sentenced tsarnaev to death on at least 1-2-3 four five -- >> from what source? >> various news sources that are inside the courtroom at the moment. >> i want to source that properly. again your information, we're sourcing it as best we can, is the jury has come to what decision here? >> death on at least six counts.