Tsarnaev speaks: 'I am sorry for the lives I have taken'

Holly Bailey
National Correspondent

BOSTON — Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke publicly for the first time since his arrest, telling a packed courtroom at his sentencing hearing Wednesday that he was sorry for his role in the 2013 attacks that that killed three people and injured nearly 300.

"I would like to now apologize to victims and survivors," Tsarnaev said. "Immediately after the bombing that I am guilty of... I learned of some of the victims, their names, their faces, their age. And throughout this trial, more of those victims were given names, more of those victims had faces, and they had burdened souls."

The 21-year-old, who declined to testify on his own behalf during his trial, was given the opportunity to speak before he was formally sentenced to death. He spoke with a soft voice and a slight accent to a courtroom full of family members and survivors that seemed stunned to finally hear his voice more than two years after his arrest.

"If there is any lingering doubt, I did it, along with my brother," Tsarnaev said, choking up as he spoke. "I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering I have caused you, and for the damage I have done, the irreparable damage."

The courtoom remained silent as Tsarnaev spoke. Many of the jurors who convicted him and sentenced him to death in May were seated in the jury box, and some cried as he offered his apology to the victims. Tsarnaev offered no explanation of why he did what he did--only that he was guilty and that he was sorry  for the suffering he had caused.

At several moments, Tsarnaev, who was criticized for showing little emotion during his trial, seemed to be on the brink of tears. His voice became choked, and at several points, he paused to clear his throat and regain control. He did not look back at the victims who sat behind him in court as he addressed them.

"I pray to Allah to bestow his mercy on you," Tsarnaev said. "I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength."

He concluded by asking "Allah to have mercy upon me, my brother and my family" and for those "present here today."

Earlier, bombing survivors and family members of those killed or injured in the bombings delivered victim impact statements, directly addressing Tsarnaev about the suffering and loss he caused.

“I don’t know what to say to you," Patricia Campbell, mother of bombing victim Krystle Campbell, told Tsarnaev. “What you did to my daughter was disgusting.’’

Later, Judge George O’Toole addressed Tsarnaev before handing down a sentence of death by lethal injection.

"When people remember you, they will remember only the evil you have done," O'Toole said. "No one will remember that your teachers were fond of you, that you were funny, a good athlete. What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people."

Tsarnaev was then cuffed and led out of the courtroom by U.S. Marshals.

His attorneys looked grim and victims stared, but he didn't look back.

Yahoo News' Holly Bailey was inside the courtroom in Boston covering the hearing. Catch up on all of the latest updates below.