MASSACHUSETTS (USA): BOSTON RESIDENTS OPPOSE DEATH PENALTY FOR MARATHON BOMBING SUSPECT DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV
September 16, 2013: By a wide margin, Boston residents favor life without parole instead of the death penalty for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tsarnaev Dzhokhar if he is convicted of the attack, a Boston Globe poll found.
The poll, conducted Sept. 5 through Sept. 12, showed that 57 % of respondents support a life sentence for Tsarnaev, compared with 33 % 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 2 pressure cookers packed with explosives near the finish line of the Marathon on April 15. 3 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 % points.
US Attorney General Eric Holder will decide whether to seek the death penalty in the case. Preference for life without parole extended across political leanings, although Democrats overwhelmingly supported that option, 61 to 28 %, while Republicans narrowly backed a life sentence, 49 to 46 %.
Life without parole was endorsed by men and women, across all education levels, and among white, black, and Hispanic respondents. Although a life sentence without parole received support in nearly all demographic categories, the penalty had more support from women than men - 64 % and 50 % respectively - and from older and more affluent Bostonians.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts, which has not executed anyone since 1947, have repeatedly defeated efforts to reinstate the death penalty. In other poll questions, a slight majority Boston residents, 53 percent, believe the federal government could do more to stop similar attacks, while 37 percent disagreed. But a plurality don't think that authorities had enough information to stop the Boston marathon bombings in particular: 43 to 36 percent. (Source: Boston Globe, 16/09/2013)