The parents of the boy who was the youngest to die in the attack on the Boston Marathon asked federal prosecutors to abandon their effort to sentence the bomber to death, in a statement on the front page of The Boston Globe on Friday.
Bill and Denise Martin, parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, instead urged the US Department of Justice to seek a deal in which Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted last week of the 2013 attack, would waive his appeal rights in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives," the couple wrote in a statement titled "To end the anguish, drop the death penalty."
The second phase of Tsarnaev's trial is due to begin Tuesday, when the jury that convicted the ethnic Chechen will decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison.
Prosecutors argue Tsarnaev, 19 years old at the time of the bombing, deserves execution, saying his attack was aimed at punishing the country he moved to a decade before the bombing, an act that he described as taking revenge for US military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries.