It's been more than seven years. On April 15, 2013 a pair of Chechen terrorists detonated homemade bombs within yards of the Boston Marathon finish line.
Three people died - hundreds were injured.
The ensuing manhunt very nearly reached my neighborhood, but reached its conclusion in neighboring Watertown, about four miles from where I am sitting now.
One of the suspects was already dead, shot by police and run over by his own brother. The police could have just as easily shot the other suspect to death as he lay wounded and hidden, but they did not.
So we got a lengthy trial at the Moakley courthouse here in Boston. The surviving terrorist was found guilty, and eventually sentenced to death for his crimes. This city breathed a sigh of relief and proceeded to move on with our lives.
A federal appeals court ruled on Friday to vacate the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who along with his brother planted homemade bombs near the finish of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and injuring hundreds.
The court also ruled to set aside three of his 30 convictions but said he will remain in federal prison for the rest of his life.
The court ruled Tsarnaev should be given a new penalty phase trial, where a new set of jurors can again decide if he should be sentenced to death. Tsarnaev, now 27, will remain incarcerated and is being held at the nation's most secure federal prison in Florence, Colorado.
"And just to be crystal clear: Because we are affirming the convictions (excluding the three ... convictions) and the many life sentences imposed on those remaining counts (which Dzhokhar has not challenged), Dzhokhar will remain confined to prison for the rest of his life, with the only question remaining being whether the government will end his life by executing him," the opinion, authored by Circuit Court Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, says.
Tsarnaev was convicted in 2015, including for the deaths of Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu at the marathon and police officer Sean Collier, separately.
I drive past all four marathon memorials in this city every day at work. One of my friends was within 50 yards of the first bomb (he didn't get a mark on him.) The wounds in this city are still fresh - that scab is very thin.
But the defense attorneys have done what they are hired to do. It is unclear to me and many in this city though, what 'benefit' their client gains by staying alive and in solitary confinement in a supermax prison.
I may not live to see it myself, given that the person in question is a mere 27 years old, but I expect him to be like Charles Manson or Sirhan Sirhan - he's only getting out of there in a box. It's unfortunate that we need to waste resources to keep him alive for the next 50 years or so.