Late last week, law enforcement authorities revealed that the family of Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been flown from Russia to Massachusetts at taxpayer expense to attend the sentencing phase of his trial that found him guilty of killing 3 and injuring 264 in the 2013 terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon.
The jury convicted Tsarnaev of 30 charges related to the bombing and the separate killing of a police officer and that the defense will try to convince jurors to sentence him to life without parole.
While the cost of the flight from Russia to Amsterdam is not known, the last part of their flight from Amsterdam and to Boston’s Logan Airport and cost nearly $2,500 per person. Authorities expect the return trip will cost the same.
Survivors, family members and friends were also outraged to learn that Tsarnaev’s relatives would also be staying at one of Boston’s four-star hotels and that taxpayers would covering the cost of security provided by three law enforcement agencies including the FBI and local police for the duration of their trip.
Former U.S. attorney Michael Sullivan offered an estimate of the cost saying, “I think you’re probably talking about $100,000 plus in that neighborhood in terms of security and out of pocket costs associated with travel.”
According to sources, taxpayers are absorbing the costs because the defense team plans to call Tsarnaev’s family members to testify during the sentencing phase of a trial where the death penalty is a possible punishment in the case. Sullivan added that:
“The court wants to make sure that at the end of the day, the defendant gets a fair trial and would not want to add any potential issues on appeal in the penalty phase, [and] prosecutors finished making their case yesterday.”
In a statement, Boston Marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile reacted angrily to this news that the costs to host Tsarnaev’s family would be covered at taxpayer expense particularly because:
“…myself and some of the other survivors and our families have to pay for our own parking at court, lunch, and we were told that if the trial was moved out of state, we’d have to pay for our own travel and lodging, there …Why should our country pay for them when that family committed a violent act against our country?
Not to mention, all of the free government services this family previously enjoyed on the backs of the taxpayers including government assistance and a free ride to UMass Dartmouth.
In contrast, I was denied housing assistance I sought after the bombings, even though I needed a handicapped accessible apartment, and my wife lost her job as a result of the events.”