On Friday, the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld much of Tsarnaev's conviction, but ordered a lower court to hold a new trial to decide on the punishment for the crimes for which the death penalty is a possible punishment. Those include usage of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, as well as aiding and abetting.
"On remand, then, the district court must enter judgments of acquittal on the relevant §924(c) charges, empanel a new jury, and preside over a new trial strictly limited to what penalty Dzhokhar should get on the death-eligible counts," the court decision reads.
"And just to be crystal clear: because we are affirming the convictions (excluding the §924(c) convictions) and the many life sentences imposed on those remaining counts (which Dzhokhar has not challenged), Dzhokhar will remain confined to prison for the rest of his life, with the only question remaining being whether the government will end his life by executing him," the court continued.
Tsarnaev's lawyers argued in the appeals case late last year that his trial was not fair because it was held in Boston, where the bombings occurred. As of Friday, no date for his execution had been set. A previous attempt at securing a retrial in 2016 failed.
Moments after arriving at Florida's Tampa International Airport, US President Donald Trump addressed the development and remarked that the court's decision to overturn the death sentence was "ridiculous."
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, were previously found guilty of placing the bombs that killed three people and injured 280 others who were part of the crowds near the finish line for Boston's annual marathon race on April 15, 2013. While Tamerlan died that day after being shot by police, Dzhokhar was sentenced to death in June 2015.