“I would take the position that my client, the younger brother, was strongly influenced by his older brother, and even if he is culpable, the death penalty is too extreme in this case.”
Similarly, Aitan D. Goelman, who was part of the legal team that prosecuted Oklahoma City bombing figures Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, said the defense may be looking to minimize the younger brother’s role in the bombing.
“I think the mostly likely reason is that if they are arguing some kind of mitigation theory that the older brother was a monster and the younger brother was under his sway or intimidated or dominated by him,” he said.
Investigators have given no motive for the 2011 slayings. One victim was a boxer and friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s.
Federal prosecutors said in court papers that Ibragim Todashev, another friend of Tamerlan’s, told authorities that Tamerlan took part in the killings. Todashev was shot to death in Florida in May by authorities while being questioned.
Prosecutors argued that turning over the records would damage the investigation into the killings.