Jurors for federal cases tried in Boston are drawn from the Boston metropolitan area and eastern Massachusetts — a politically liberal region, but also the part of the state most directly affected by the tragedy.
Two other federal death penalty cases have been brought in Massachusetts. A former veterans hospital nurse who killed four patients by overdosing them was spared the death penalty by a jury. A man accused in the carjack killings of two Massachusetts men was sentenced to death in 2003, but the punishment was overturned and he is awaiting a new penalty trial.
Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, 70 death sentences have been imposed, but only three have been carried out, including the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 2001.
The last federal execution was in 2003, when Gulf War veteran Louis Jones Jr. was put to death for kidnapping 19-year-old Army Pvt. Tracie McBride from a Texas military base, raping her and beating her to death with a tire iron.