Boston Marathon bombing jury is chosen, allowing trial to begin

Jury will decide if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, lives or dies for the August 2013 Boston marathon bombing

Ten women and eight men, all of them Boston-area residents, were selected Tuesday afternoon as jurors and alternates to hear the case of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- the trial at last getting underway after two months of jury selection and repeated attempts to move the case out of Boston.

The panel members, almost all of them middle-aged, are to report Wednesday morning to the federal courthouse on Boston Harbor, not far the finish line of the April 2013 bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. It remained unclear who are jurors and who are alternates; that distinction will not be announced until the end of the trial.

A pool of 64 potential jurors was brought into Judge George A. O'Toole Jr.'s courtroom, filling the benches as nine security officers, in suits and ties, positioned themselves around the room. Tsarnaev, 21, in a brown sport coat, his hair shaggy, his beard thin, rarely looked at them.

One by one, the judge called the jurors' numbers and asked them to take seats in the jury box. The judge then told them, "You have now been selected." He ordered the 18 jurors to return in the morning to be sworn in, and to hear opening statements in the trial against Tsarnaev, a Russian immigrant.

One of the jurors was described as being half-Iranian, while the others were white. Some were unemployed; one works as a house painter. All said they would be willing to put Tsarnaev to death if they found him guilty in the capital case being tried in federal court. Massachusetts does not have a state death penalty, and polls in the state show a large number opposed to capital punishment. 

If they do find Tsarnaev guilty, the trial would go into a sentencing phase, and the panel could vote on whether to put him to death for the worst terrorist attack in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.

As the jurors left the courtroom and the security officers cleared the area, Tsarnaev stood and continued to look down. He then was led away.

Richard.Serrano@latimes.com

On Twitter: @RickSerranoLAT

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