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Boston bomber Tsarnaev apologizes to victims and survivors in first public statement

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was reportedly inspired by an al-Qaeda magazine that has now called for U.S.-business related assassinations.
U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston | Reuters
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was reportedly inspired by an al-Qaeda magazine that has now called for U.S.-business related assassinations.

Showing emotion he rarely displayed during his trial, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday apologized to victims and survivors.

The 21-year-old, who was formally sentenced to death Wednesday for his role in the attack, acknowledged his guilt and expressed remorse. Victims heard from Tsarnaev mostly indirectly during his trial earlier this year.

"Now, I am sorry for the lives that I have taken," Tsarnaev said.

"You told us just how unbearable this was, this thing I put you through," he added, noting the "strength" of witnesses who testified during the trial.

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, set off bombs at the finish line of the April 2013 race. The brothers were also responsible for the shooting death of an MIT campus police officer. Tamerlan later died after a shootout with police.

Read MoreTsarnaev sentenced to death for Boston Marathon bombing

The formal hearing gave victims and their families an opportunity to address Tsarnaev. Some people gathered expressed rage and grief earlier in the day.

"The choices you made are despicable," said Patricia Campbell, whose daughter, Krystle, was killed at the Boston Marathon.

"I will never have a complete family again," said Jennifer Rogers, the sister of the MIT police officer, Sean Collier.

Karen McWatters, a friend of Campbell's, looked at Tsarnaev and said, "You will die in prison alone."

Bill Richard, the father of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the attack, also addressed Tsarnaev.

"We chose love, we chose kindness, we chose peace," he said. "That is what makes us different from him."

Marathon victims described lost limbs, broken lives and mental anguish that endured long after their surgeries were over.

—NBC News contributed to this report.