The process of choosing jurors for the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev begins today. Tsarnaev has been indicted on 30 counts for his alleged role in the incident which killed 3 people and injured over 260 in April 2013. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in July 2013.
The Associated Press reports that the jury will be selected from a pool of 1,200 people, and will determine if the 21-year-old Tsarnaev was responsible for both planning and executing the attack along with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The 26-year-old was killed during a shootout with police in the days following the bombing. If Tsarnaev is found guilty, the jury will also decide if he'll face the death penalty.
The Associated Press expounded on why this trial will be under such an immense microscope:
It's perhaps the most closely watched federal death penalty case since Timothy McVeigh was convicted and executed for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Tsarnaev's lawyers tried in vain for months to get the trial moved, arguing the Boston jury pool was tainted because of the number of locals with connections to the race and drawing parallels to the McVeigh case, which was moved to Denver for similar reasons. But U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. has been unmoved.
According to the Associated Press, the process is expected to take several weeks due to extensive media coverage. What's more, any juror objections to the death penalty could further delay it.
Tsarnaev's lawyers are likely to focus on his rough upbringing and older brother's influence as the basis for his defense.
[via Associated Press]