He was the child who died in his mother's arms as she pleaded for him to hang on. In the guilt part of the trial, some jurors openly wept when his ordeal was recounted and graphic evidence of his wounds shown as evidence.
Of course, in closing arguments the prosecution invoked his memory. That palpable presence could checkmate the legal experience and skills of defense attorney Judy Clarke and the testimony of anti-death penalty nun, Sister Helen Prejean.
The jury, as The New York Times reports, is now deliberating Tsarnaev's fate. Ironically, Richard's parents pleaded for life in prison. They recognized that with the death penalty there would be years of appeals. Those would be played out in the media, re-stimulating for them the horror of that day.
In a maximum security prison, Tsarnaev might never be heard from again. There, it is likely he could go insane, as do myriad prisoners in solitary confinement. To his victims, who probably lost their minds amidst their suffering, that might be the best kind of closure. Awareness that one's mind is slipping away can almost be labeled cruel and unusual punishment.