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Boston Marathon bomber arrives at Colorado penitentiary

BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev arrived at the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, on Thursday, a day after he was sentenced to death. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that Tsarnaev was being held at the high-security facility. The penitentiary is in the same prison complex as the ADX, a Supermax prison, but is a different institution.

After a judge formally imposed a jury’s recommendation of the death penalty Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said Tsarnaev is eventually expected to go to the death row unit at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was put to death and more than 50 other people are awaiting execution. Tsarnaev could spend years or even decades there as his appeal makes its way through the court system.

Here’s a look at what Tsarnaev’s life will be like on death row:


The maximum-security prison contains a special confinement unit where death row inmates are housed. Cells in the unit contain a shower, a desk, a locker, a toilet, a sink and a 13-inch color television. Inmates in the unit are confined to their cells most of the day. They are allowed five hours of outside recreation per week. They are also given the opportunity to use the prison’s law library and to participate in religious activities. Tsarnaev’s communication with the outside world will be severely restricted to only immediate family members and others approved by the federal government.


Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, 76 inmates have been sentenced to death, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Only three have been executed, including McVeigh; Juan Raul Garza, a drug kingpin who was convicted of killing or ordering the murders of three people; and Louis Jones Jr., a decorated soldier convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a young female Army recruit at a base in Texas.


Fifty-nine inmates are currently under a death sentence, with 56 of them assigned to the special confinement unit at Terre Haute. These include Edward Fields, a former prison guard convicted of killing two campers while wearing a homemade sniper suit; Ronald Mikos, a Chicago podiatrist convicted of killing a former patient to stop her from testifying in an investigation of a Medicare fraud scheme; and Ronell Wilson, who was convicted of killing two undercover police officers in New York City. Gary Sampson, who was sentenced to death for carjacking and killing two men in Massachusetts in 2001 and killing a third man in New Hampshire the same week, has also been housed at Terre Haute. A judge overturned Sampson’s death sentence in 2011, and his resentencing trial is set to begin in September in Boston.


Three death row inmates are assigned to other prisons the Bureau of Prisons will not name.