Adrianne Haslet-Davis: "I am thrilled with the verdict!"
Liz Norden: "There are no winners today, but I feel justice for my family"
Lauri Scher: "He turned into a monster. Why did that happen? We'll never know"
Some hailed the verdict as justice, even if that justice is bittersweet. Others called it a sad day and said their thoughts were only for fellow survivors.
But even as survivors and family members of victims expressed a range of emotions Friday after learning that jurors sentenced the convicted Boston Marathon bomber to death, there was one common realization:
They are done with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“My heart is with our entire survivor community. I am thrilled with the verdict!” tweeted Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a ballroom dancer who lost part of her leg.
She later told CNN that she feels the verdict represents justice, and that while it does not provide closure for survivors, it does close a painful chapter.
Sydney Corcoran suffered shrapnel wounds in the bombing and her mother, Celeste, lost both legs. She wrote on Twitter, “My mother and I think that NOW he will go away and we will be able to move on. Justice. In his own words, ‘an eye for an eye.’”
The family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest bombing victim, appeared stoic in the courtroom as the sentence was read. They had opposed a death sentence.
Nearby, Liz Norden – whose sons, J.P. and Paul, each lost a right leg and who publicly supported a death sentence for Tsarnaev – was in tears, according to Kevin Cullen, a columnist for The Boston Globe who was in the courtroom.
Norden told reporters afterward that the decision was bittersweet.
“There are no winners today, but I feel justice for my family,” she said. “I have to watch my two sons put a leg on every day … but I can tell you it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
Said Roseann Sdoia, who lost her right leg: “There’s no right answer and there’s no wrong answer to it. It definitely was a heavy moment for the thought of everything that the survivors have gone through – especially, more importantly, the families of the deceased.”
Sdoia said she was surprised the jury voted for the death sentence for Tsarnaev for his role in the April 2013 attacks.
“The justice system has its way, and he was judged by a jury of his peers,” she said.
The bombing caused Heather Abbott to lose her left leg below the knee, and she now leads a foundation to provide others with prosthetic limbs. She said the verdict did not bring her peace.
“It brings sadness and cause to reflect, again, on just how senseless all of the deaths and injuries that resulting from this situation are,” she wrote on her foundation’s Facebook page.
Survivor Karen Brassard said, “I know there is still a long road ahead … but right now it feels like we can take a breath … Once the verdict came in it was like, ‘OK, we can start from here and go forward and really feel like it’s behind us.’ There’s nothing happy about having to take somebody’s life.”
Lauri Scher, who was also wounded in the bombings and attended the proceedings with Brassard every day, also said there is no relief in knowing Tsarnaev will be put to death.
“I’m sure at one time in his life he was a very lovely, caring young man,” Scher said. “What he turned into obviously was – we know what he turned into. He turned into a monster. Why did that happen? We’ll never know.”
Other survivors and family members said the jury made the right decision.
Dana Cohen, whose daughter Jaymi suffered shrapnel wounds to her legs, said he believed that “whatever decision the jury came out with would be the right decision, because they’re the ones that were instructed to follow the evidence, (to) listen carefully and come up with the right decision.”
Survivor Jarrod Clowery said he was just glad he didn’t have serve on the jury – but he stands behind their decision and the legal system.
“I don’t follow that case at all,” Clowery said. “That’s what I’ve done to bring closure, is to not really pay attention. Out of sight, out of mind. But for all the victims and all the survivors of that day, whether it brings closure or not, me and my family – our hearts and our best wishes go out to all of them.”
Some of the harshest words came from Michael Ward, a firefighter who was off-duty the day of the bombing and treated many victims at the scene.
“Ultimately justice has prevailed today,” Ward said. “He’s going to go to hell. That’s where he wanted to go, but he’s going to get there quicker than he thought.”