tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC May 15, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
bomber dzhokhar tsarnaev will be put to death for his crimes and murder a federal jury deliberated a unanimous verdict just this afternoon, an hour ago, after deliberating for two days, a little over 15 hours of total deliberations. tsarnaev reportedly sat impassive in the courtroom this afternoon, showing no reaction as the verdict of his death was read out loud. multiple jurors reportedly were in tears. tsarnaev convicted last month of course, on all 30 charges against. 17 of those charges carried a potential death penalty. charges covered in that bombing killing three, injuring 260. and charges related to the ensuing manhunt in which an m.i.t. police officer was shot and killed, a driver carjacked and he and his older brother tamerlan ended up in a dangerous firefight with police. he will remain in custody until his formal sentencing. any execution, however could be years away with a mandatory appeal under federal death penalty cases. joining me now, ronan farrow.
for those of us who are just joining us here on a big day of serious and breaking news, what can you tell us from the ground? >> ari there's a mood of i would say tension on the ground at this point. obviously this is a release after more than 60 days of trial, after more than 14 hours of deliberation from this jury. but also an acknowledgement that this is the beginning of a long and certain to be hard-fought process. the appeals will be under way. they will take likely years. that's something that's very much on the minds of bystanders that i've been talking to just in the community. of course, behind me in this courthouse, people who were actually involved in this case for whom their lives was this case are all filing out of this courtroom. they're not talking to press right now. not giving comments at this point. some of the survivors, some of the family members were also in that courtroom. we know that ten individuals were in that space in the court. two of those, bill and denise
richard, lost their 8-year-old son martin on the day of the boston bombing. that was actually a specific aggravating factor in the verdict slip that jurors were presented with. that it made this charge worse. that it militated in favor of the death penalty that he had callously disregarded the life of someone so young, so vulnerable. they walked out not showing emotion. seemingly, by my observations in a state of shock. i think there's a lot to process here on the ground. still a lot of security as well. i don't know if you can hear a lot of helicopters overhead. armed officers around the perimeter of the area i'm standing in. a community still very much on edge. >> we go now to governor charlie baker holding a press conference on the boston marathon bombing. just began. let's listen in. >> i've always been and continue to be impressed by the ability of the people in this community to pull together around issues like this and to look forward, and that's certainly what i hope
everybody does from this point forward. >> governor, there are some people who are against the death penalty, even family members that were affected by this. what is your message? >> you know we have -- we're a nation of laws here. and under our nation of laws juries make the call with respect to decisions like this based on the evidence and based on the law. and from my point of view, as i said many times, while i certainly had an opinion on this, my opinion didn't really matter. the opinion, the only opinion that mattered here was the one that would be rendered by the jury. and i think some of the commentary that was made by a number of the victims and their families was unbelievably powerful. and, you know, god forbid that
we ever find ourselves in a situation where we have to consider that kind of thing. but again, the way the system works is the jury makes the call, and the jury based on the facts, the evidence and the law, made their call today. [ inaudible question ] again, i don't think about it that way as a right decision or a wrong decision. i think about it as the decision that was made by the men and women who served on that jury who sat in that courtroom every single day for a very long time listened to the testimony heard from the victims and their families. heard from the defense with respect to the part of the trial associated with determining the sentencing. and rendered a unanimous decision. this was their call. >> they're arguing out there that the death penalty is far more costly for taxpayers rather than prison for the rest of his life. how do you react to that? >> i guess i would say that i
don't really think in this particular case money should be the motivator for the decision. the decision should be made, based as i said, the facts and the evidence of the law. and the jury, i think for most people's point of view, probably could have gone either way. i think the fact that they made a unanimous decision speaks to the significance of the acts that were performed here and their sense about the law and their interpretation of the laureltive tolaw law relative to the facts of the case. >> what are your emotions -- listening to you, how is this affecting you, listening to everything that's happened in the courtroom? >> the biggest and most important thing that's affected me in all of this is i have you know, a wife and three kids. and i really do believe that this was for many people a there
but for the grace of god go i. if you happen to be standing at the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong day, you ended up involved in something far beyond what even in your wildest imaginations you ever could have thought would have occurred. and that for me has always been paramount in this. the significance of the act itself is pretty obvious. the biggest issue for me is the randomness of what happened here. as i said i really thank the jury and the judicial system and the process for sticking with this. i thank all the law enforcement people who were engaged in the horrible series of events that led to the death of officer collier. and i'm glad at this point this part of the process is over and i really do hope that for all the families that have been involved in this and the jury and everybody else that they can find some closure and an opportunity to look forward.
and by the way i've been unbelievably impressed with the ability of a lot of these families to look forward already. i think about all the people who ran in the marathon the following year. i think about all the teams that run behalf of many of the victims in the following year. i've had a chance to talk to several of the families that lost family members on that day. their positivity and their ability to find perspective in all this i find extraordinary. [ inaudible question ] i haven't thought about that yet. i'm still processing what happened. >> has this brought closure for you? >> well, i think every time we run the marathon -- i don't run the marathon. i think every time everybody runs the marathon, it will be
impossible for this to be too far from the top of people's minds. i would say for me this certainly ends the sort of ongoing trial piece of this, but i think it will be a really long time before this episode and all that came with it ever lands in my rear-view mirror. and i think that would be true for most people. >> we've been listening to massachusetts governor charlie baker, reacting to the breaking news of this afternoon's death sentence for boston marathon bomber dzhokhar tsarnaev. the governor was a personal opponent of the death penalty, saying the only opinion that matters here was the jury's opinion. this was their call, and we are a nation of laws. that's the opinion there of governor charlie baker. i want to bring in msnbc's ronan farrow who's been covering the death penalty phase of the trial. you heard the governor there speak to something that's been debated extensively. whether the state of massachusetts, which at a state level doesn't use capital punishment, would be a place where it would be applied and
how that would be received and the governor is saying it's a nation of laws and it was entirely appropriate. >> reporter: this is always beginning to be a contentious issue by a majority of massachusetts citizens opposed to capital punishment. that makes this an unusual trial, an unusual setting for this kind of trial. it hasn't been since the early 2000s that there is such a trial in this state. it really does raise fundamental questions, and all of those that i've been talking to around this courthouse including protesters out and about picketing saying capital punishment is murder. >> stay with me ronan. we're going to go to harvard law school professor charles ogletree. professor, what did you make of what we heard today? this jury unanimously finding all of the necessary conduct and heinous cruel conduct in their view to justify the application
of the death penalty to this defendant. >> it's very disappointing there's no question about that. here's the problem. we think about the death penalty, you'll be punishing a person with an execution, within a few days. my sister was killed in california more than 30 years ago. i've been against the death penalty before during that and after that. i think that people here in massachusetts particularly are dis dissatisfied with capital punishment and say this is not a way to go. i think that this will be something that we'll regret having done because it's the wrong way to punish tsarnaev. the way to punish him is to make him spend life imprisonment, which is a long time, and have the victims -- and there are a lot of victims. i certainly apologize and support those victims. but the whole idea is to see him
suffer for many, many years. i think that is the only just and reasonable way for this case to be resolved. >> you mentioned your own personal experience with other people who were victims and families of victims from the boston marathon attack have a range of views. some of them we can report celebrated the death penalty application today. here is a brand-new tweet from a survivor adrian haslet davis. she left her left leg below the knee. she said, my heart is with the entire community, i am thrilled with the verdict, #bostonstrong. opinions coming in from boston and all over the country. stay with us. i'm also going to bring in boston globe reporter mike bello. mike, what is your sense of the reaction so far in boston? >> well i think you know, there's a sense of relief. iç6c this verdict. this event was calamitous for the city. i think a number of people felt
he should have gotten the death penalty. there was a real division out there. i think among the jurors you clearly saw that the prosecution proved its case. the judge thanked them for their service. and there's a small bunch of protesters outside the courthouse, protesting against the death penalty. but so far we're at the finish line where a lot of people are just expressing a sense of relief that it's over. and many of them saying that dzhokhar tsarnaev got what he deserved. >> and mike from your view, have residents been following the trial very closely on a daily basis, or now that it was in this penalty phase, people were just going to wait to hear this final answer today? >> i think people were following the fir partst part of the trial. i think the second part, people were just waiting until the end to hear what the jury had to say. you know there's a number -- we're at a number of places around the city we have boston globe reporters that -- the collier memorial at m.i.t. talking to students there, at the finish line, in watertown,
the scene of the shootout where there's still bullet holes in some of the houses hit during that. there are a lot of people who basically are relieved and also there's a lot of emotion involved in this. you know people went through trying times for many months both after the bombings and the investigation, so it clearly had impact. >> i also want to read from mayor walsh's brand-new statement on this, saying he wanted to thank the jurors for their service. and then he said i hope this service provides a small amount of closure to the survivors' families, all impacted by the violent and tragic events from that terrorism attack. does this bring in your view boston any closer to closure? >> i think it depends who you talk to. i think there are those who want the death penalty. saying he got what he deserved. there are those who saying dzhokhar tsarnaev will now live on that he'll be -- because he got the death penalty, he'll be a martyr for the jihad movement.
that his appeals will make news, and he'll stay in the news instead of sitting in a cell for the rest of his life, that his appeals will go on perhaps decades. so this story is not over by any stretch of the imagination with the appeals expected. >> mike bello thank you for joining us on a big day, obviously, in boston. i want to bring back in professor ogletree. you heard mike bello there and you heard some of what i read. beyond a policy opposition to the death penalty itself, a ripe and open debate in american life, did you see anything wrong specifically with its application in this case? because many people have said if there ever was a case for it, it would be this kind of a terror attack. >> all of us have these views. my sister, as i said before, was murdered, and i then felt like i do now. i was against the death penalty. it just is not the response to
punishment that seems to be appropriate. and i agree with mike on a lot of the terms. the victims have suffered. i apologize to the victims. i feel their pain. the people lost their limbs. but you don't kill somebody as an answer. that person could spend -- he's a young man. he could spend the rest of his life, his natural life, ten, 20, 30, 40 maybe 50 years or 60 years in jail. and every day, the victims those who were dead and victims who were injured and victims who were family members will say he's getting the punishment that he deserves, and we're celebrating that right now. i think that killing somebody is not the right way to go and i think it shows that we're a barbarian society in some respects and i don't think that i believe and have no sense that the death penalty is an answer to the problem. it's simply one of the solutions, but it's not an answer to the problems because you need to figure out how do you make tsarnaev pay for what he did, and that is a life
imprisonment. >> professor appreciate you sharing not only your legal expertise with us today, but also your personal story. appreciate you joining us. thank you. and now we're going to turn to another harvard law professor, carol steiker who is out there. what do you see as the most important takeaway or result from what we learned today, this jury finding on six different capital counts that they want to apply the death penalty to dzhokhar tsarnaev. >> i think many people are looking to this case to try to draw some kind of lessons for where the death penalty is going in america. but i honestly think that there's not much that you can say about this particular verdict, because it's really out of step with where the death penalty has been heading in recent years. we've had massive declines in executions and even more massive declines in death sentencing rates around the country and legislatures around the country have been repealing the death penalty. six of them in the last eight
years and more of them considering repeal bills even as we speak. so the federal death penalty is an unusual creature. and it tends to deal with, you know, terrorism cases, which are not the bulk of the death penalty in the united states. >> and for those who are watching today and simply wondering how this will work and legally when will this individual who's been sentenced to death likely actually undergo that punishment many have pointed out that of the 80 federal defendants sentenced to death since 1988 only three have actually been punished with an actual death -- you know with actual death being carried out. the capital punishment being successfully executed. what do you make of that, and fit that into what you were saying about the trends here. >> well, i think it shows something about the federal death penalty, which is a tiny tip of a much larger iceberg. since the supreme court brought back the death penalty with new
constitutional constraints in 1976, this nation has seen more than 1,400 executions only three of which have been by the federal government. so the federal government is honestly a big player in the national death penalty drama and it does take many years of appellate process before any execution will happen, if indeed it does. there are appellate issues that could, if successful, overturn either the sentence or the conviction or both. >> all right professor, thank you so much for joining us here on this important day in boston. harvard law professor carol seiker. we'll go right now to robert dunham the executive director of the death penalty information center. robert, you heard some of the conversation i think we were just having. for folks just joining us, covering the breaking news of a jury in boston, completing its deliberations and finding that the death penalty should be applied to dzhokhar tsarnaev. and as we discussed, it is a
rarity for that to actually happen in federal cases, and even rarer for it to be carried out swiftly. your thoughts here on this judgment, on one of the worst terror cases in modern american history? >> yeah, this was certainly an extraordinary case. one can imagine, you know, the way a death penalty jury is set up in order to serve, you have to say that you are willing to impose the death penalty. and given a jury composed solely of people who said that they're willing to impose the death penalty, it's not that surprising that you reach this kind of verdict. i think one of the things you've got to understand though, is that you can't judge a policy based upon extreme examples in which -- extreme examples. so if, for example we said that a plane landed safely that dunn mean that air traffic is safe. if planes are crashing all over the place in other locations.
here we have an extraordinary case where there is not just a very severe crime. one of the -- as you were saying earlier, worst terrorist attacks in the united states. but it's also a case in which there was a lot of evidence. and so the doubts that we've seen in very many cases with the death penalty where we now have 153 people who have been exonerated from death row, found to be innocent even after they were sent to death row. this is not the kind of case where you have those particular concerns. but the case really is out of step with the direction in which the united states is going. in 1990, the united states was supporting a death penalty with 80% of the public saying they supported the death penalty. recent polls showed that the support from the american public is now down to 56%, and we ask them the more important question the policy question about what would they prefer as
a sentence for murder. life without possibility of parole or death. a growing majority of americans now say they prefer life. >> and that's certainly true in massachusetts, which has been an undercurrent to this. stay with me. i'm bringing in as well on the phone, former boston mayor ray flynn. mayor, thanks for joining us. your thoughts on what this means for boston today? >> this has been an issue that the people of boston have been talking about for two years and it's an issue they'll talk about for the rest of their lives. you know, we're pleased that this horrendous nightmare that we experienced is over. i don't think people really, really understood how a person could be this hateful. but seeing this, we're pleased that it's over. we'll always remember this event, as we will always remember the innocent victims and their families. >> mayor we've talked a lot about the law here. this is a legal process and one
of the most significant things we asked citizens to do in this nation. we ask them to judge their peers, and in some cases, we ask them to consider having their peers executed under law. it is the utmost serious civic duty when people are called to do it. i want to ask you, though, as well, about what was still missing here for many people, including a lot of the survivors and family members that we've interviewed, that we've listened to over the past years. the lack of remorse. not as a legal matter, mayor, but simply as a matter for boston. the fact that this defendant not only never showed remorse, but now we can say the jury found that and found that that was relevant. speak to us about that. >> several of the familyies -- spoke to the richards family recently. they are philosophically opposed to the death penalty but
because i think of the lack of remorse, many people who are opposed to the death penalty, including myself, would say well, how could somebody be this cruel as the bomber? in taking innocent lives and really showing no respect whatsoever for the families of the innocent victims. i think that's the bottom line. we all make mistakes. we all make horrendous mistakes, i guess. but nonetheless you pray and you ask people for forgiveness. that's what confession is all about. though if you don't want to confess what you did, acknowledge that you made a horrendous mistake a crime and i don't think people will show you any forgiveness. so to me who's opposed to the death penalty on values of faith
and my catholic faith pro-life, i can understand how people who are against the death penalty would not have much support today in trying to support an overturn of this verdict today. i think the court did a good job. i think justice was served. you know people say well now boston can move forward. i've been in politics in this city for 50 years. the people will not move forward on this issue. this is an issue people will long remember. >> we're talking to former boston mayor ray flynn here. just an hour and a half or so after the jury began announcing its sentence of death on six counts for dzhokhar tsarnaev in the boston marathon bombing. mayor, my final question you were just speaking to which is what kind of day is it in boston? you know, you know the city as well as anyone and you work with so many of the people affected by these murders. what kind of day is it? because even if justice is
served, as we've heard many people feel the jurors who handed out this ultimate punishment, we can report, several of them were crying. not presumably because they felt there was anything wrong in what they had to do or what they felt was just under the law. but because there is something sad. >> i'm literally five minutes from the courthouse the courthouse. part of my legislative district when i was a state representative. i was at the library walked down broadway. people are relieved that this is over. people have no strong feelings whether or not he should receive life imprison without parole or the death penalty. that's not what they were thinking about. what they were thinking about is the families of these people. and they know them. some of them are their neighbors. and that's what people are talking about now on the streets of boston. >> former boston mayor ray
flynn. thank you for taking some time to share with us your views there on a difficult important day for boston. thank you, sir. we go back to robert dunham executive director of the death penalty information center. i wonder if you could speak to what the mayor said. many people robert, would say that while it's important to be knowledgeable about these issues, today is not a day to even debate the death penalty. this is the law, this is federal law, and if there's ever a case as i was mentioning earlier where you have federally mandated reasons to apply it they would seem to be according to this jury unanimously, they would seem to be fulfilled here. >> well, this jury certainly came back with a decisive verdict. but, you know, unfortunately, i would have to disagree with the mayor about the case now being over. essentially, we're done with the trial stage. but as a life verdict would have ended the case once and for all
now we enter a new phase. it's the phase that the richards family spoke about when they asked the government to drop the death penalty and that is the appeals. there are going to be motions that are filed in the district court by the defense, raising a variety of issues that they think are grounds to have the penalty reversed. you had a community that has suffered tremendously. and it's hard to find jurors who were not exposed to the trauma and retraumatized when the evidence was presented in court. mayor flynn mentioned that. this was a traumatic experience and continues to be for boston. the richards family was talking about how if there was a death verdict, they feared the impact on their kids, and on being able to psychologically move forward, because now for the years in which the appeals move forward,
the case is going to be about tsarnaev, not about the victims and not providing them with the opportunity to heal. >> let's pause on that point. because it is something significant that we ask citizens to do, to be involved directly in this decision. what did you think of this reporting, as i mentioned earlier, that some of these jurors who did find this way were crying today. >> it's not surprising. the experience across the nation is that jurors who serve on capital cases are affected very, very badly by it. they suffer trauma as well. and jurors will often report that for years afterwards, they have nightmares and they're just not the same. the death penalty has a lot of hidden effects. it has effects on the families of the victims. it has effects on the prosecutors. it has effects on the judges. it has effects on the jurors. and the psychological effects really can't be underestimated. there is a very interesting
study done several years ago that compared the victims' family members in minnesota to victims' family members in texas. people whose loved ones had been murdered and it followed them through the trial process and through the appellate process. and it found that under all measures, physical psychological, and emotional the family members in minnesota were doing better. they were not traumatized by the death penalty process. and didn't have the scab ripped off over and over during the process of the appeals. >> i'm going to go back to boston. thanks for joining us today. i want to go back to ronan farrow, who's been covering everything in the trial today. what else can you tell us there about the mood and what you're seeing there? trying to see if ronan farrow -- can you hear me ronan? i was asking what the mood is there now. >> thank you, ari. i have you now. the mood here is still somewhat tense. there's been a release of energy. you can feel that. it's palpable.
we mentioned elevated security. that continues. there are gun ships right behind the camera in the harbor going back and forth. coast guard gun ships. there's also the boston pd. they have their boats here. there are armed officers to the left of me, to the right of me. they have sniffing dogs. i believe we may have actually fed some tape back to you of the departures out of the back door behind me. we understand the defense team was the most recent to leave. we asked them for comment. they're not commenting right now. we're going to keep the audience posted on details of when they will be speaking. there's another side door at this courthouse. we expect the u.s. attorney to depart shortly. that is not confirmed but that's what we're hearing from sources within the court. so there is this clearing of energy of nervous anticipation and also a literal clearing of the building happening right now. >> ronan, stay with me. i want to bring in karen desoto who's been part of the coverage today. karen, your thoughts on some of
the conversation that was just being had about what it means now? >> you know, ari, it's very interesting. because this case is not a case that you can talk about death penalty trends and policies. this was a global event. this impacted the entire united states. this was an attack on the united states. so even if the death penalty tomorrow in every state was overruled, you would still -- this case would still be here on a federal level. and we would be discussing these same ideas. i mean, this was just such a heinous and cruel act. and, you know, i pause to use this as some kind of measure for death penalty cases. because again, this is so unusual. >> and tell me your thoughts on the prosecution here. i mean, we have been focused so much on what the jury has done, and that is what's new. but we watched the prosecution here that really threw everything they had at this defendant. and really was able to dispense
with the defense that we heard, that even if this was terrible and there's video of aspects of it, you know this was a young guy, a kid, under the influence of his older brother, didn't necessarily do every crime himself, at least hands on. they seemed to prevail, didn't they? >> well, it appears that when you have a 30-count indictment and 17 of them are the death penalty, you know that the government is very serious about a death penalty sentencing. so therefore, there were a lot of -- in the beginning they were very upset about the victim testimony. that that should have been saved for the sentencing. and, you know you do have people that have the argument that why is it -- he came right out. his defense attorney said i did it. why did we go through this process? could there have been some other way to do this and still give the victims their day in court? >> and walk us through the evidence, because you have the experience here. the six counts, as i mentioned, that are the predicate, the
justification for this death penalty. each of them involved in the trial was called pressure cooker bomb number two. that was the weapon, a federally banned wmd, that caused this carnage. walk us through why that evidence was so key. >> the key is weapons of mass destruction is one of those very key point dallas the death penalty in even the defendant in this case is admitting it. that's something that needs to be reflective. we just had an attorney saying that, you know victims in these
particular cases are kind of torn whether or not you should have the death penalty and not have the death penalty. so these are the issues that as a society and trends, maybe this is a good thing to be talking about right now, and seeing if there's any alternatives from dragging the victims and the families through the appellate process, which on average by the way, takes six to eight years. >> let me ask you, how important do you think the video evidence was in this case when you look at the crucial charges being about the bomb? >> oh, i think that at least in the sentencing phase, one of the most dramatic testimony and information was the defendant himself's own words written with riddled bullets in the boat and blood. i think as far as the sentencing goes intent can be definitely gleaned from his own words. i think that that very much struck the hearts as far as remorse to the jurors seeing
that upon dying what we call in the business, or as attorneys a dying declaration, he took that time not to be remorseful or to blame his brother, but to justify his actions. i think that piece of evidence in and of itself was a tremendous impact in this case. >> and you heard me say that we have the reports from inside the courtroom of those jurors crying. to be careful and clear, we don't know why they were crying. we can only speculate. but have you seen anything like that in your experience? >> yes, absolutely. in many cases, it's so traumatic, because you're seeing photographs. you're seeing dismemberment. in pennsylvania, there was an abortion doctor who was tried out in pennsylvania, and the judge had to bring in a psychiatrist for post-traumatic stress. i want people to understand that jurors often go through these very dramatic -- especially this is very long. you're hearing victim testimony. you're feeling the impact of these families. so post-traumatic stress is
actually a very common side effect for jurors in these types of cases. >> yeah, and karen, as we've discussed, whether that is difficult doesn't answer the question of whether it's necessary. certainly police soldiers, many things we ask people to do in the name of the country can be difficult. a lot of folks would say the jurors there did their civic duty which in this case involved them reaching a decision of taking a citizen's life. i want you to stay with us on our coverage. we're going to have a lot more out of boston and a lot more legal analysis. another story, as you know folks, we've been following today, the breaking news on that amtrak crash. we've been awaiting a final press conference from the ntsb. and joining me now from philadelphia with more on that and developments. what can you tell us? >> reporter: nbc's tom costello reported earlier this afternoon that the ntsb was finally sitting down with the train engineer brandon bastion, at some point this afternoon. apparently that meeting has
happened today. now, as you mentioned, there was supposed to be a press conference. the ntsb's last briefing for media starting at 4:30, just a few moments ago. our local affiliate is reporting it was delayed because the ntsb is still getting additional information. so read into that what you will. once this news conference takes place, we hope to hear some of the details of any information that bastion might have provided. earlier in the week his attorney said that he really has no recollection of the moments leading up to the crash and the crash itself. he suffered a concussion and had a pretty severe cut. he remembers coming to and finding his bag, getting his cell phone out, and calling 911. so it will be interesting to see if in the passage of days as he recovers from this concussion if his memory has improved since the accident happened. we're hoping to hear about that. meanwhile, here in this philadelphia neighborhood, crews are continuing to work around
the clock to try and restore the tracks here. all of the train cars have now been removed and they're hoping to have amtrak's service restored between philadelphia and new york by monday. but now we're hearing more likely by tuesday. so that's the lacetest on what's going on in both the investigation front and the activity to restore train service. >> chris pollone, thank you for the latest on our expectations on getting more information about that ntsb investigation into the amtrak crash. we also will continue to follow the story out of boston. the verdict in the dzhokhar tsarnaev penalty phase, the death penalty for dzhokhar tsarnaev. more on both of those stories straight ahead. stay with us. out of 42 vehicles based on 6 different criteria, why did a panel of 11 automotive experts name the volkswagen golf motor trend's 2015 car of the year? we'll give you four good reasons. the volkswagen golf. starting at $19,295, there's an award-winning golf for everyone.
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2013 bombing which killed three people and injured more than 260 others. joining me now, dave wedge, co-author of the book "boston strong" and former "boston herald" reporter and on the phone, former massachusetts congressman barney frank. dave, your thoughts on boston today? >> i'm very surprised. there's been a growing sentiment here in boston among people, as you know we're not a death penalty state, so there's been a growing sentiment that people felt like life in prison was a worse punishment. and i think people are really surprised by today's verdict. i think the thinking here was that it will be very hard to get 12 massachusetts residents to agree to an execution. >> and dave as i'm speaking with you the u.s. attorney's office there, which successfully prosecuted this case is about to hold a briefing on the verdict, which should be very interesting. potentially involving attorneys there and members of families. it hasn't quite started, but we're looking at the screen there by the harbor. so we're going to go to that as
soon as that begins. congressman frank, knowing i might interrupt you when that starts, your thoughts on the meaning of this verdict today for massachusetts. >> well, first of all, i think what it shows is something that people who follow the legal system understand jurors take their responsibles sresponsibilities very seriously. mr. wedge said he was surprised. but i think most jurors -- a number of people in the system, including people who have been tourist, tend to put aside their personal ideological value to the law. as the law exists the death penalty was called for. personally, i'm opposed to the death penalty because i think we should never do anything irreparable irreparable. having said that, i have no sympathy for mr. tsarnaev. i think people should be careful to not let that become sympathy
for a vicious killer who deserves none. but i do think it's a sign that our legal system can work, and that citizens were able to follow the law as they were told to follow the law, even though some of them might have different personal opinions. >> dave, the former congressman here is saying something that many elected officials have said including the governor today. that one's views on this in theory, or in general, are not relevant when we have federal law to apply. and we ask jurors to do so. and that's the takeaway today that on these six counts the jurors found the requisite justification to apply the death penalty, and they found that so many bostonians have felt that this was not just a run of the mill crime. this was a heinous act of murder. >> that's right. the congressman raises great points and i agree with him on all of them. i'm just a little surprised that the jury -- 12 jurors were able to agree unanimously and so quickly. because as i said, there was
growing public pressure even. some of the survivors of this bombing and some of the relatives of those who lost their lives had even come out publicly against the death penalty. and obviously the jury is not supposed to read the coverage but it's been a huge story here in boston. i'm just a little surprised. i think they definitely made the right decision, as the congressman pointed out. 17 of these crimes call for the death penalty. but the death penalty isn't a required case it's an option. so i think the jury really came together quickly and that's what surprises me. >> and dave tell us a little more from your reporting and experience about just what the victims' families have been able to do and the role they played. you talk about boston strong. what does that mean to people? where do the families fit into that? >> sure. in our book we had the good fortune of being able to talk to so many of these families for so much time. the collier family, for one.
i spent a lot of time with them. i think the survivors were very split. some were firmly in the camp that they thought it deserved the execution but there were a lot of them like many massachusetts residents and the congressman 's, just not personally pro death penalty. i think the richard family fell into that category. i think patrick downes, who just lost a leg in the bombing they didn't want to see the death penalty. i think the survivors were very split. and really what they're looking at now is a long protracted appeals process that for many of them is going to compound the tragedy for them. it's going to continue to keep it in the news. it's going to go on for years and years. they thought that life in prison was a better option. lock him up throw away the key and we never have to hear about him again. >> going back to barney frank, who's in massachusetts for us right now.
talk to us about -- you know, everyone thinks nationally about the pre- and post-9/11 era. talk to us about the way boston has evolved from before, during, and after this event. >> i'm very proud. they've behaved very maturely. one important point that i've made. some of my friends who are overly negative about the use of security cameras. we would not have caught this murderer if it had not been for security cameras. a reminder of security cameras properly done, but when you're out in a place where you have no expectation of privacy, a great public safety tool. it's not been any kind of
overreaction. it's been a recognition that it's a terrible crime and i'm proud that that's been such a mature reaction. >> barney frank and dave wedge stay with us. i'm also going to bring in karen desoto former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney who's been joining our coverage. help us set up for the press conference that we're waiting on. we're looking on our screens. basically, we expect to hear from the federal prosecutor in the case, u.s. attorney carmen ortiz, the fbi special agent in charge for boston, as well as potentially the vpd boston commissioner of the police department there. just from your experience we can't predict what they're going to say, but from your experience, what is the kind of case we would expect to hear from them after what they consider a fully successful prosecution? >> you know it's interesting because in these cases, these high-profile cases, we've seen more and more of these press conferences that do a little bit more of a methodical reading of what the most powerful evidence you know had been in the trial
what it meant. but mostly, they take this opportunity, especially in this case, when you have fbi agents you have local, state, and federal officers all working together that will take this time to, of course, thank them for the hours and weeks and months that they've put into preparing this trial. so you'll see a lot of political rhetoric back and forth. i think that we'll see a little bit more specific evidence and a little bit of commentary towards that as has been happening in these high profile cases. >> and dave, we expect to hear from federal prosecutors and federal law enforcement as well as boston. from your reporting, talk about the coordination from the tragic incident itself and the prosecution between the state and federal authorities?
>> well, it was certainly what happened out there in weerttownatertown from the time of the bombing and the capture in watertown, there's been unprecedented cooperation. there's been some bumps in the road. there's been a lot written about that -- >> such as what? >> there was some disagreement between the agencies about when to release the pictures of the bombers. they were released on that thursday and they were captured that night. there's folks who felt they might have been released earlier. and sean collier that incident may not have had to have happened. that's something we'll never know. this prosecution really was pretty flawless. it was incredible to watch. i was in the trial many of those days. anyone covering massachusetts courts was surprised that the
case didn't go like this. certainly the prosecution had sympathy on their side and it was a tough thing to cross-examination some of these folks that have been traumatized so much by what happened there on boylston street. so i think that the prosecution really -- the ball was in their court. >> i'm going to cut in, because the folks you're talking about are stepping up to the microphones. u.s. attorney's office getting ready to give their press conference. let's listen in. >> i want to begin by thanking the jurors in this case for their service. they have sat through months of grueling and oftentimes heart wrenching testimony and evidence. they have been incredibly attentive and they are commended for their commitment, for their service. i also want to thank the many victims, survivors, and witnesses who testified in this case.
as well as those who came every day to support them in court. truly, the victims and the survivors are the voices of boston strong, and the living proof that there was much love in this city on the afternoon of april 13th two years ago. i want to thank them for their testimony and their presence. our goal in trying this case was to ensure that the jury had all of the information that they needed to reach a fair and just verdict. we believe we accomplished that goal. and that the trial of this case has shown the world what a fair and impartial jury trial is like. even in the wake of horror and tragedy, we are not intimidated by acts of terror or radical ideals. on the contrary. the trial of this case has showcased an important american ideal, that even the worst of the worst deserve a fair trial and due process of law.
today the jury has spoken and dzhokhar tsarnaev will pay with his life for his crimes. make no mistake the defendant claimed to be acting on behalf of all muslims. this was not a religious crime. and it certainly does not reflect true muslim beliefs. it was a political crime designed to intimidate and to coerce the united states. although the defense claimed that the defendant was himself intimidated and coerced by an older brother, the evidence did not bear that out. the defendant was an adult who came to believe in an ideology of hate. and he expressed those beliefs by killing, maiming, and mutilating innocent americans on patriot day. today is not a day for celebration. it is not a day for political or moral debate. it is a day for reflection and
healing. our thoughts should not turn away from the tsarnaev brothers for good. krystle campbell, martin richard, sean collier, and lingzi lu. our thoughts should also be with the brave individuals who lost limbs during the marathon bombing and all the other victims and survivors who still cope with injury with loss and are still healing. as well as our hearts should be with this great city of boston. after two years investigating this case and 12 weeks of trial it is time to turn the page in this chapter. i want to briefly acknowledge the hard working commitment of the investigators, the prosecutors and the victim witness advocates in this case, in particular assistant u.s. attorneys william winereb steve
melon. anyone who has watched their work the last two years knows that the united states has not been better represented. their commitment, not only in the courtroom, but to the victims and survivors themselves has been incredible. i also want to thank all of my law enforcement partners. local, state and federal agencies in particular the fbi, who along with the jttf as well as boston police department, massachusetts state police, watertown, and m.i.t. police worked tirelessly from the very beginning to find those who were responsible for these heinous crimes and to assist in holding them accountable. i have never been prouder to be a part of such a dedicated group of law enforcement officials. and now i'm going to turn it over to my colleague, the special agent in charge for the fbi's boston field office.
>> good afternoon. first i'd like to thank the amazing team that came together in the face of this horrible tragedy. and i don't just mean the team represented right here on this podium. i mean the first responders and the health care professionals who jumped into action on that horrible day and acted so historically and heroically and saved to many lives. and the investigators who worked side by side and worked as one team to gather a tremendous amount of evidence that was used to convict this terrorist. one thing the people need to know is that the fbi and our law enforcement partners who show up to work every single day for the victims, who rely on us to bring these people to justice, and that's just what we did here. but the most amazing thing was the inspiration and motivation this these victims gave us every single day. it was their unimaginable strength that was a constant
reminder to us of why we had to keep pushing forward and pursuing every single lead. so to the victims, i just want to say thank you. your strength has been nothing but inspirational, strengthens our resolve to continue to show up to work every day for victims of all crimes. >> any questions? [ inaudible question ] >> i read their letter and i responded to it. i believe the globe -- i know the globe wrote a piece containing my remarks at that time. what they had to say their position was very very important to me. had a great impact as well as really what also the other victims and survivors that i have encountered in this case have said. and that we came to this decision of pursuing the death penalty not lightly. when i say we, the department of
justice, the attorney general who approved it, and there was a long careful process in which there was a tremendous amount of input from different levels of my office and the department of justice. when the attorney general approved it based on the nature of the crimes in this case and the degree of the harm, we then continued on that path. >> were you saddened or surprised that a death-- [ inaudible question ] >> i would say that i don't want to comment on my personal feelings. i will say this. the jury had a really difficult job to do. and this was not an easy result for them to arrive at. and it was clear that they had been so attentive, so thorough.
we appreciate the incredible service that they have provided what they have been through and so we're gratified with their service. and i will be reaching out to the collier family and i will personally be talking to them. [ inaudible question ] i don't want to speculate on that. i would believe so after all the appellate process. i agree with you, it is a long process. [ inaudible question ] >> absolutely. absolutely. i mean our investigation has been so thorough and exhaustive. if somebody had anything to do with this bombing, we brought them to justice. it was these two brothers. >> what about tsarnaev's wife? do you have any comment on whether she may be charged? >> i'm not going to comment on
any pending investigations we may or may not have. >> what happens next in terms of where he goes and how he might be put to death, when and if that comes? >> well, right now, mr. tsarnaev will remain in the custody of the u.s. martials.shallsmarshals. there will be a sentencing hearing that will be scheduled. i would hope they will discuss when the sentencing hearing will be scheduled, at which point victims and survivors will have an opportunity to make an impact statement in writing. we've already solicited written impact statements from victims and survivors. but some obviously will be given an opportunity to be heard in court. and so we'll figure that