Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon bomber’s death sentence reinstated by Supreme Court

Boston Marathon
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has reinstated the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The justices, by a 6-3 vote Friday, agreed with the Biden administration’s arguments that a federal appeals court was wrong to throw out the sentence of death a jury imposed on Tsarnaev for his role in the bombing that killed three people near the finish line of the marathon in 2013.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes. The Sixth Amendment nonetheless guaranteed him a fair trial before an impartial jury. He received one,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, made up of the court’s six conservative justices.

The court reversed the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, which ruled in 2020 that the trial judge improperly excluded evidence that could have shown Tsarnaev was deeply influenced by his older brother, Tamerlan, and was somehow less responsible for the carnage. The appeals court also faulted the judge for not sufficiently questioning jurors about their exposure to extensive news coverage of the bombing.

In dissent for the court’s three liberal justices, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, “In my view, the Court of Appeals acted lawfully in holding that the District Court should have allowed Dzhokhar to introduce this evidence.”

Breyer has called on the court to reconsider capital punishment. “I have written elsewhere about the problems inherent in a system that allows for the imposition of the death penalty … This case provides just one more example of some of those problems,” he wrote in a section of his dissent his liberal colleagues, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, did not join.

The prospect that Tsarnaev, now 28, will be executed anytime soon is remote. The Justice Department halted federal executions last summer after the Trump administration carried out 13 executions in its final six months.

President Joe Biden has said he opposes the death penalty, but his administration was put in the position of defending Tsarnaev’s sentence at the Supreme Court.

Had Tsarnaev prevailed at the high court, the administration would have had to decide whether to pursue a new death sentence or allow Tsarnaev to serve out the rest of his life in prison.

Tsarnaev’s guilt in the deaths of Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Boston, was not at issue, only whether he should be put to death or imprisoned for life.

Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction and the killing of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier during the Tsarnaev brothers’ getaway attempt. The appeals court upheld all but a few of his convictions.

McFadden, Romanchuk second in Boston Marathon to the Swiss one day after winning Chicago

125th Boston Marathon
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One day after winning the wheelchair races at the Chicago Marathon, Americans Tatyana McFadden and Daniel Romanchuk both finished second at Monday’s Boston Marathon, racing World Marathon Majors on consecutive days for the first time in their careers.

Swiss Paralympians Manuela Schär and Marcel Hug bested their top competitors to win Boston’s first marathon in 910 days after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 edition and postponed this year’s from its traditional April date.

The pandemic has left marathon season feeling like much more of a sprint rather than, well, a marathon. The 2021 major marathons began Sept. 26 with Berlin, continued Oct. 3 in London, then moved quickly to the U.S. leg with Chicago on Oct. 10 and Boston Oct. 11. The busy schedule concludes with New York City on Nov. 7. The Olympic and Paralympic marathons were also held in August and September.

Hug was Boston’s first 2021 winner in 1:18:11, with Romanchuk crossing in 1:25:46 and Ernst Van Dyk, the 48-year-old veteran from South Africa who’s won Boston 10 times since 2001, in 1:28.43

Schär won bested the women 1:35:21, followed by McFadden in 1:50:20 and fellow American Yen Hoang at 1:51:25.

Schär and Hug extend their leads in the 2019-2021 World Marathon Majors series standings with their latest wins. The season includes the last two marathons from 2019, the two that were held in 2020 and five from 2021, plus the the Olympic/Paralympic marathons.

The 36-year-old Schär won the 2019 Chicago Marathon that kicked off the series, as well as New York that year. She was second in London in 2020. This year she won Berlin, London and now Boston; she took Paralympic silver in Tokyo and did not race Chicago this year.

McFadden, 32, maintains second place. The 20-time Paralympic medalist was the 2019 Chicago runner-up and 2019 NYC runner-up, second in Berlin this year, then third in London, first in Chicago and now second at Boston. Her Chicago win on Sunday marked the 23rd win of her career and the first since Boston in 2018.

Hug, 35, holds a narrow lead over Romanchuk, 23.

Hug’s results include four wins (2020 Paralympics, 2021 Berlin, 2021 London, 2021 Boston), three second-place finishes (2019 Chicago, 2019 NYC, 2021 Chicago) and a third place (2020 London). Romanchuk won 2019 Chicago, 2019 NYC and 2021 Chicago, was second at 2021 Berlin, 2021 London, 2021 Boston and third at the Paralympics.

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Des Linden to race Boston Marathon in October

Des Linden
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Des Linden will race the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11, becoming the first elite runner to sign up.

Linden, who in 2018 became the first U.S. female runner to win the world’s oldest annual marathon since 1985, made the announcement while in Boston on Patriots’ Day, which is normally the date of the 26.2-mile race.

“Honestly, it wasn’t a lot of thought [on whether to enter],” said Linden, a 37-year-old who has raced Boston seven times, most recently placing fifth in 2019. “I’ve fallen in love with this race and am always excited to be here. I was just waiting for the opportunity to announce it because my schedule is always lined up to be ready to run Boston.”

On Jan. 26, organizers announced that the 125th Boston Marathon was pushed back to Oct. 11 this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Boston Marathon was canceled last year for the first time.

Linden, a 2012 and 2016 Olympian, was fourth at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, missing the three-woman team for Tokyo.

Last week, she became the first woman to break three hours for 50km, which is five miles longer than a marathon.

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