Poll: Seventy percent back death penalty for Boston attack suspect

A strong majority of Americans supports the death penalty if Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is convicted for the attacks.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Wednesday finds 70 percent back the death penalty for the long surviving suspect, with 27 percent opposing. A majority across parties, with 64 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of independent voters support a death sentence.

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A large majority also support trying Tsarnaev in federal court as opposed to a military tribunal by 74 percent in favor to 19 percent against. The poll finds support for that across party lines as well, with 80 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of independents backing a civilian court trial.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are suspected of setting off pressure cookers packed with shrapnel at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last month, killing 3 and maiming dozens. They also executed an MIT campus police officer and led police on a daylong manhunt that shut down much of the Boston metropolitan area.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a shootout with police, but his younger brother Dzhokhar, a naturalized U.S. citizen aged 19, is now in custody and was charged last week for his role in the bombings.

Federal prosecutors charged Tsarnaev with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was also charged with using an improvised explosive device and of seeking “malicious destruction of property.” If convicted he could face death or life in prison.

Reports say Tsarnaev has declined to cooperate with investigators since he was read his Miranda rights by a federal judge, a decision that has sparked protest from GOP lawmakers who wanted him designated an “enemy combatant.” That label would have restricted his ability to gain counsel.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted from April 24 to 28 and has a 3.5-point percent margin of error.

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