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Boston Marathon suicide bomber tries again to avoid execution

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BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is trying again to avoid execution, asking the 1st United States Circuit Court of Appeals to consider four constitutional complaints that were unsuccessful in the appeal of his death sentence to the Supreme Court last month.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers said in a Thursday filing that the trial court “unduly forced” their client to stand trial in Boston; violated his constitutional rights by denying challenges to two jurors accused of lying during questioning; fired a potential juror because of his opposition to the death penalty; and allowed admission as evidence of what they called Tsarnaev’s “forced confessions”.

Thursday’s filing followed a Wednesday filing by the appeals court to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision last month to reinstate Tsarnaev’s death sentence.

“Because these four direct appeal applications have not yet been judged by any appellate court, Tsarnaev respectfully submits that the April 6 judgment was rendered in error and should be overturned,” his lawyers wrote.

In their response, prosecutors said they agreed that the four defense requests had not been resolved, but said: “The government believes that the defendant’s death sentences should be confirmed”.

The Supreme Court accepted by a 6-3 vote on March 4 the Biden administration’s arguments that the appeals court was wrong to overturn the death sentence imposed by a jury for Tsarnaev’s role in the placing two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the 2013 marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260. He was convicted in 2015.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has committed heinous crimes. The Sixth Amendment nevertheless guaranteed him a fair trial by an impartial jury. He received one,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority.

The Supreme Court ruling reversed a 1st Circuit ruling, which ruled in 2020 that the trial judge improperly excluded evidence that could have shown that Tsarnaev had been deeply influenced and radicalized by his older brother, Tamerlane, and was therefore less responsible for the bombing.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a gunfight with police several days after the explosions.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now 28, is being held in a maximum-security federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

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