Pros and Cons of the Death Penalty for the Boston Marathon Bomber

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ProCon.org explored whether or not Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should receive the death penalty by presenting pro and con quotes from diverse sources including: US Representative Nikki Tsongas (pro); US Senator Elizabeth Warren (con); Liz Borden, a mother whose children were victims of the bombing (pro); the Boston Bar Association (con); Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner (pro); and Boston Archbishop Sean O’Malley (con), among many others.

A WBUR poll of Bostonians found that 27 percent of respondents think Boston Marathon bomber Dhokhar Tsarnaev should receive the death penalty, while 62 percent said he should be sentenced to life in prison without parole. In contrast, a nationwide NBC poll found 47 percent of respondents in favor of giving Tsarnaev the death penalty and 42 percent who would prefer that he be imprisoned for life.

ProCon.org, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, examines which arguments people are offering on each side of the issue. Some people argue that life in prison without parole is a better option than the death penalty because a life sentence costs less than the death penalty or because the death penalty is immoral, among other reasons. Proponents of the death penalty argue, among other things, that capital punishment should be used for retribution in this case and that Tsarnaev’s execution may deter future crimes.

For additional context on the death penalty, ProCon.org offers statements from experts in response to the question “Should the death penalty be allowed?” as well the top 10 pro and con arguments about the death penalty, a detailed history of the death penalty, statistics and information about the various forms of execution in the United States, and a state-by-state guide to death penalty laws, among other resources.