Few favor death for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, poll finds

Daniel S. Medwed, a Northeastern University criminal law professor who has followed the case closely, said the letter and the discussion that followed might have changed people’s minds.

“It didn’t talk about moral opposition. It was much more about the process of the death penalty case and being dragged through this for years and years,” he said. “The heartfelt letter resonated with the community.”

He offered two other possibilities. It is easier to support the death penalty as a general principle than it is to advocate for the death of a specific individual, no matter how egregious that person’s crimes. Or, perhaps, he said, people are reluctant to give Tsarnaev the death penalty because they believe life in prison is a worse punishment for the young man than death, which could turn him into a martyr.

Boston Globe