Court weighs whether Boston Marathon bomber got a fair trial

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Dzokhar Tsarnaev(FBI via AP, File)

A federal appeals court in Boston will consider whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a fair trial in the city where the bombs exploded.

Oral arguments before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are scheduled for Thursday, according to The Boston Globe.

Tsarnaev was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for carrying out the April 15, 2013, attack at the marathon finish line with his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed by authorities.

Three people died and more than 260 were wounded.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers argue it was impossible to find a fair jury in Boston because the explosions traumatized the region. They’re trying to get his death sentence overturned.

Prosecutors maintain that an impartial jury was carefully selected. They wrote in a filing in June that exposure to high levels of pretrial publicity does not necessarily render a community unable to convene an impartial jury, otherwise no venue would be acceptable in the most nationally significant cases.

Tsarnaev isn’t expected to attend the hearing. He was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction.

His lawyers admitted at the beginning of his trial that he and his older brother set off the two bombs, but they argued Tsarnaev is less culpable than his brother. They’re challenging the judge’s refusal to allow the defense to introduce evidence tying Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the killings of three people in the Boston suburb of Waltham in 2011.

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