In the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnev for taking part in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, jury found the suspect guilty of all 30 charges against him Wednesday.
The trial now moves to a second phase where the same 12 member jury will decide whether Tsarnaev (21) should be punished with the death penalty or life in prison for his actions, now that his guilt has been established after 11 hours of jury deliberations over two days.
Seventeen of 30 charges that Tsarnaev has been found guilty of, including deadly use of a weapon of mass destruction and murder, are punishable by death.
Three people were killed and another 264 were injured when homemade pressure cooker bombs were exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon two years ago.
Dzhokhar conducted the attacks with his elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed three days after the attacks during a shootout with police, following the fatal shooting of Massachusetts of Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier for which Dzhokhar has been found guilty. Dzhokhar survived with injuries and was found hiding inside of a boat in the backyard of a local house.
A guilty verdict was expected after Tsarnaev's lawyers opened their defence in the federal trial in Boston by admitting his involvement ,saying "it was him" who planted one of the bombs on April 15, 2013 and three days later shot dead a police officer.
Survivors of the attack, families of victims and law enforcement officers filled the courtroom during the reading of guilty verdict which took about 25 minutes.
Tsarnaev’s defence lawyers are expected to be more aggressive during the punishment phase of the trial which is to begin next week, as they try to save him from the death penalty.
Tsarnaev's lawyers are planning to portray Dzhokhar as the minor party in the attacks as they try to push the idea that his deceased older brother Tamerlan was the mastermind and driving force behind the attacks.
Defense attorney Judith Clarke tried to draw attention to making of the bombs during her closing argument last week, saying "Tamerlan did that," with respect to the production of the bombs, and claimed that there would have been no attack without the guidance of the older brother.
David Weinstein, an attorney and former prosecutor who has experience with death penalty cases, said the time that jury took to arrive at the decision that Tsarnaev was guilty of all charges indicates that they thoroughly deliberated and that “sentencing deliberations are likely to take longer.”
Federal prosecutors are strongly pursuing the death penalty for Tsarnaev, and have provided a copy of al Qaeda's "Inspire" magazine with an article on bomb-making found in one of Tsarnaev's computers as evidence that Dzhokhar bears equal responsibility with his older brother for the bombings and thus should be punished accordingly.