HARTFORD--While Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may have been sentenced to the death penalty in the Boston Marathon bombing case, a death sentence isn't the end of the story. The appeals process could take years or could take decades.
“Even if he tosses his appeals, there are mandatory appeals. They take time," said Steve Kalb, a journalism professor at UConn.
Kalb, who also works for the Connecticut Radio Network, was one of five reporters to tell the story of another execution.
On May 13, 2005, Michael Ross was killed by lethal injection. He was convicted of murdering eight girls and women and raping seven out of his eight victims. After 18 years on death row, he gave up on appeals and asked for death.
“The victims, two of them, were 14, my age, when they died. I was a senior in high school when he was sentenced to die and as a 35-year-old woman I witnessed his execution. I say that only because it shows you just how long the appeals process is,” said Shelly Sindland, another of the five journalists who covered the execution. She worked for Fox CT at the time.
Sindland still has her notebook from the day of the execution and can remember the reaction from the victims' families standing right beside her.
She said, “I heard someone say, ‘It's too peaceful.’ I heard a lot of crying.”
Both journalists predicted the jury would decide on the death penalty for Tsarnaev, but they know the families of the victims from the Boston Marathon bombings are facing a long road ahead.
Kalb said, “Anyone who is thinking that tomorrow morning they're going to take this gentleman out and execute him is in for an 18-year wait.”