Boston Marathon bomber's death sentence overturned

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs planted by Tsarnaev and his brother exploded at the finish line.

A federal appeals court ruled on Friday to vacate the death sentence of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

An entry submitted in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit read, "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's convictions on Counts 13, 15, and 18 are reversed, and the district court is directed to enter a judgment of acquittal on those counts".

A federal appeals court overturned Tsarnaev's death sentence Friday, ruling that two jurors who sentenced him to death in 2015 were unfairly biased.

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This is a developing story and will be updated as events warrant. They also pointed to social media posts from two jurors suggesting they harbored strong opinions even before the 2015 trial started.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston Marathon bombers, is no longer on death row.

"But make no mistake", the judges wrote in the ruling.

Tsarnaev is being held at the United States' "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, a site so remote and well secured that it is nicknamed the "Alcatraz of the Rockies".

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The trial judge allowed his jury to include jurors who had "already formed an opinion that Dzhokhar was guilty - and he did so in large part because they answered "yes" to the question whether they could decide this high-profile case based on the evidence".

They asked why the two jurors had not been dismissed, or at least why the trial judge had not asked them follow-up questions after the posts came to light on the eve of the trial.

Tsarnaev's lawyers argued the case should not have been tried in Boston, where potential jurors were exposed to heart-wrenching, wall-to-wall media coverage about the attacks and the victims, many of whom lost limbs.

One juror had said in Twitter posts that that she was "locked down" with her family during the manhunt and retweeted another post calling Tsarnaev a "piece of garbage", but later told the court she had not commented on the case or been asked to shelter in place, the defense said.

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Tsarnaev was convicted on 30 charges, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction.

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