Is the Death Penalty Too Easy an Escape for Tsarnaev?


Tsarnaev with his lawyers, Miriam Conrad on left and Judy Clarke on right

“It seems that voters have concluded that Tsarnaev does not deserve a quick death, but rather should spend the remainder of his days in a windowless cell contemplating the heinous acts that put him there. To voters, it would seem death is too easy an escape,” concluded Frank Perullo in The Boston Globe last Monday.


Perullo is the president of Sage Systems LLC, which conducted a study in an effort to determine what Massachusetts citizens believe marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s, punishment should be.


Surprisingly, according to the poll, out of the 30 percent of Massachusetts residents who support the death penalty for heinous crimes, only a little less than 19 percent believe Tsarnaev should be put to death.


When asking Massachusetts students what they thought of his punishment, many felt the same way the majority does.


According to Newburyport High’s junior class president, Alison Russel, “He should have to live with what he did, see how it ruined us, and have to see the people he injured and the families he tore apart.”


Agreeing with Alison, Emma Silverthorne, Pentucket junior, says, “I personally think he should serve life in prison. The death penalty just seems like the easy way out. I mean, he might as well have died with his brother from injuries if they’re gonna put him to death. He should have to live with what he did and feel all of the guilt and regret.”


Angela Patriakeas, Pentucket junior, supports life in prison. She says, “No death penalty… Make him sit in prison by himself with crappy food so he can be miserable for the rest of his life.”


Interestingly, the reason why most people believe he shouldn’t receive the death penalty is because it isn’t harsh enough. While Pentucket sophomore, Leo Igorivich Belyi, also doesn’t support the death penalty as Tsarnaev’s punishment and thinks jail is harsher, one of the reasons he doesn’t support it is because of the morality aspect of it.


Leo says, “In a justice-sense, he does kind of deserve [the death sentence], but…jail is…worse…The death penalty is kind of perpetuating murder crimes.”


Is it wrong to take an eye for an eye? Is giving the death penalty to Tsarnaev continuing the problem, or is it serving justice?  Most people seem to disregard those questions, tending to be more concerned with the severity of the punishment.


Though many appear to support the views and opinions of life in prison expressed above, there are some Massachusetts students that feel differently.


Disagreeing with them, John Reinhold, Pentucket junior, simply says, “[They should] hang him. He killed children. Anyone that hurts women and children needs to die.”


Also, on the side of the death penalty, Pentucket junior, Meghan O’Connor, says, “Yes…They committed a terrorist act. The world and other terrorist countries need to know we mean business”


Sophomore at Pentucket, Alana White, also shares these views saying, “He deserves the death penalty because he killed and injured so many people. Why should he be able to have the privilege of life?”


One other key point for the side of the death penalty argument is that life in prison would mean that we, the state of Massachusetts, would have to pay for him to live. Is it worth the price? (Although one must also take into account that the death penalty does cost more money than life in prison, as being charged with capital punishment allows the criminal to go through a significant amount of appeals.)


When asking high school students nationally what they thought Tsarnaev’s punishment should be, the results tended to be mixed.


Khalil Parker, a junior from Maryland believes that Tsarnaev should get the death penalty, saying, “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be executed because he killed a large amount of people at a historic event. The fact that he is a terrorist makes it even worse since we had the bombing on 9/11. Although being executed is a harsh penalty, he must face the consequences, and we as Americans need to use him as an example for anybody else who is planning on doing something similar or worse.”


Diana Duran, a junior from Arizona, says, “It should be life in prison because he endangered hundreds of people’s lives and killed [people]… Not to mention it will live with people for the rest of their lives, and his intention was to kill hundreds of innocent people.”


Armando Cisneros, a junior from Texas, says, “This man is and forever will be a terrorist to the US, and why should he be sentenced to a prison which tax payers pay for where he gets three meals a day and a roof over his head? His objective that day was to kill as many people as possible, and for that I feel that his basic right to live should be taken away.”


Raquel De La O, a senior from California, simply says, “[He should get] 25 to life or deportation.”


Danielle St. Amand, a junior from Georgia, says, “Killing the assassin for attempting to also kill citizens is not the solution, as this situation is overwhelmingly ironic. An alternative to the death penalty is obtaining a life sentence without parole, which is what Tsarnev should receive; not only has this solution been effective in the past, it would also allow the Boston bomber decades of time to ponder his decisions and reflect on them. Murdering someone for their actions is a quick, short-term, sorry excuse for punishment, and Tsarnev is not worthy of being able to take the easy way out.”


Jaylene Sanchez, a junior from Tennessee says, “I think his punishment should be death row because [he] didn’t just kill one person, he killed several people and caused damage to a lot of people.”


Adrianna Bethea, a junior from Maryland says, “He should be given life in prison because he not only injured and killed people but also risked lives. I don’t think he should be put to death because he ended some people’s lives so I think that’s kinda counteractive.”


Abby DeRosiers, a sophomore from New Hampshire, says, “A death penalty isn’t sufficient because he doesn’t have to suffer through being in jail.  Besides, since he attempted suicide, you you would believe he’d rather be dead than alive.”


What do you think? Should Tsarnaev serve the death penalty, or is that too easy of a way out for such a despicable crime?