Here are my feelings on the subject: So what?

Professor James Alan Fox writes at USA Today.

Tsarnaev death expensive justice: James Fox

After 10 grueling weeks of testimony, with over 100 witnesses taking the stand and over 700 exhibits being entered into the record, the long-anticipated verdict is finally in: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is to be executed for his part in murdering four victims (excluding his brother/accomplice) and injuring over 260 others.

In weighing the aggravating factors (the number of victims, including children, the murder of a police officer, and the terrorist motive) against the mitigating factors (the defendant’s subservient role in the crimes, the science of brain development in youthful offenders and his troubled family history), the jury was unanimously convinced that the death penalty was the more appropriate sentence.

It may be that prosecutors and some of the victims are pleased, if not thrilled, with the outcome. For them, capital punishment is precisely designed for crimes like this.

But in the end, I wonder if the death sentence was worth all the time, effort, anguish and expense of the trial. Was reaching for the death penalty worth subjecting the 10 women and eight men, who were fulfilling their civic duty as jurors, to heart-wrenching testimony and disturbingly graphic exhibits that no doubt will impact them for years to come? We can add 18 more to the list of victims in this case.

The troubling fact is that none of this, neither the financial cost nor the emotional toll, was necessary. After all, the defense team, long before admitting their client’s responsibility for the bombings on the very first day of trial, was willing to enter a guilty plea if the government agreed to take the death penalty off the table in favor of life without parole. Would that have been so bad?