The family of the convicted marathon bomber traveled to America for the federal trial, and it was all paid for by American citizens’ tax dollars.
During the trial, at least six extended family members of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stayed at the Hampton Inn in Revere, Massachusetts, starting at the end of April of this year, under very tight security.
Sources say these family members are being called as witnesses and not only that, at least three agencies, the FBI, US Marshal’s, and Revere Police, are working around the clock to protect and transport them.
The costs quickly add up. One flight they took from Amsterdam to Massachusetts cost nearly $2,500 per person. The cost to put them up at the Hampton Inn at the government rate was almost $200 per night, per person.
“I think you’re probably talking about $100,000 plus in that neighborhood in terms of security and out of pocket costs associated with travel,” former US attorney Michael Sullivan said.
And that’s just for one trip.
The trial, however, adds on to the costs. One defense witness, Mark Spencer of Arsenal Consulting, charged $375 per hour and billing taxpayers for $150,000.
Sullivan said that while he understands taxpayer outrage, the whole point is to make sure it’s done right. “The court wants to make sure that at the end of the day, the defendant gets a fair trial and would not want to add any potential issues on appeal in the penalty phase, prosecutors finished making their case yesterday,” he said.
Tsarnaev’s Muslim family collected more than $100,000 in various government social welfare benefits, and in an interview with ABC news, Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor Tsarnaev, blamed the U.S. instead of showing remorse for his son’s actions, stating, “The Americans are going to harm my second son the same way they did to my oldest son…everything is in Allah’s hand.”
Neither of the brothers was enrolled in any welfare program at the time of the attack, the Associated Press reported. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife Katherine Russell and their daughter became inelegible for welfare last year when their income rose too high.
Marathon survivor Marc Fucarile, who lost his leg in the bombing, told My Fox Boston that he’s outraged that Tsarnaev’s family’s expenses are being paid for when “myself and some of the other survivors and our families have to pay for our own parking at court, lunch, and we were told that if the trial was moved out of state, we’d have to pay for our own travel and lodging, there.”
He continued, “Why should our country pay for them when that family committed a violent act against our country? Not to mention, all of the free government services this family previously enjoyed on the backs of the taxpayers including government assistance and a free ride to UMass Dartmouth. In contrast, I was denied housing assistance I sought after the bombings, even though I needed a handicapped accessible apartment, and my wife lost her job as a result of the events.”
He ended by saying he feels badly for the taxpayers that have to pay for this after they were so generous to all the survivors and the One Fund.
According NBC News, the cost of holding a federal prisoner in a “supermax” prison for one year, which is where Tsarnaev is going until he is put to death there, is $75,000.
The full costs of the trial and bringing the bomber’s family to the U.S. has not been released yet; however, death penalty trails are typically costly for taxpayers. The cost of legal representation alone in death penalty cases averaged about $218,000 through the 1990s. That doesn’t include travel and other costs for witnesses, experts, security and investigators, according to a government report.