WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider reinstating the death sentence of Boston marathon shooter Jokhar Zarnaev, who appeared before President Joe Biden with a preliminary test of opposition to the death penalty.
The judges agreed to hear a petition filed by the Trump administration, which ultimately executed 13 federal detainees in his office in six months.
The case won’t be heard until the fall, and it’s unclear how the new administration will handle Jarnav’s case. The initial case and the decision to seek the death penalty were made by the Obama administration, where Biden served as vice president.
But Biden has vowed to end the federal death penalty.
In August, the Federal Court of Appeals in Boston withdrew Jarnav’s sentence because he said his trial judge had not done enough to ensure that the jury was not prejudiced against him.
The judiciary quickly began appealing in the early summer to ask the judge to listen and decide at the end of the current court term. “We will do whatever it takes,” then-Attorney General William Barr said last year.
Zarnav’s lawyers admitted at the beginning of his trial that he and his older brother, Tamarlan Zarnayev, had dropped two bombs at the finish line of the marathon in 2013. However, they argued that Joker Zarnav was less guilty than his brother, who said that he was the mastermind behind the attack.
Tamarlan Zarnayev, 226, died after a shootout with police and the capture of his brother while on the run. Police arrested Jaghor Jarnav, wounded and bloodied, a few hours later in the Boston suburb of Watertown, where he was hiding in a boat parked in the backyard.
Zarneev, now 227 years old, was convicted of 30 counts of conspiracy and use of all weapons of mass destruction and the murder of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during an attempt to free the brothers from him. The appeals court upheld everything except some of his convictions.
The initial case and the decision to seek the death penalty were made by the Obama administration, where Biden was vice president.