Martin Richard’s parents have called on federal authorities to drop the death penalty as a possible punishment for bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Martin William Richard, 8, was the youngest victim in the 2013Boston Marathon bombings.
Bill and Denise Richard’s son was one of three people killed in the explosions two years ago.
The Richards said an execution sentence “could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted last week.
Martin Richard’s parents made their plea in a front-page piece in the Boston Globe on April 17.
“We are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal,” they wrote.
The Richards were injured in the attack and their daughter, Jane, lost one of her legs in one of the explosions.
“The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives,” they said.
Throughout the piece, the Richards never mention Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by name, electing instead to refer to him as “the defendant”.
“I care deeply about their views and the views of the other victims and survivors,” US Attorney for Boston, Carmen Ortiz, said. She refused to go into specifics.
Families of other victims have expressed support for the death penalty.
The court will begin the penalty phase of the trial on April 21, one day after this year’s Boston Marathon.
Jodi Arias has escaped the death penalty for murdering ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008 after an Arizona jury failed to reach a verdict on March 5 in the sentencing retrial of the former waitress.
Jodi Arias, 34, was found guilty of the murder in 2013 but jurors at that trial deadlocked on whether to give her the death penalty. A new jury of eight women and four men was seated in October to hear a sentencing retrial but announced on March 5 it could not decide on a punishment.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens said the jury was hung and declared a mistrial. The judge now will sentence Jodi Arias to life in prison or to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Both sides will have an opportunity to make their case to the judge before she makes that decision.
Prosecutors accuse Jodi Arias of murdering Travis Alexander in a jealous rage but she says she acted in self-defense.
Travis Alexander, 30, was found dead in a shower at his Phoenix-area home. He had been stabbed multiple times, his throat was cut almost from ear to ear, and he had been shot in the face.
A judge has approved Jodi Arias request to represent herself in Travis Alexander murder trial.
Jodi Arias, 34, admitted killing Travis Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home in 2008 but said it was self-defense.
Prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage when Travis Alexander wanted to end their affair.
Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder last year but jurors couldn’t reach a decision on sentencing. Under Arizona law, while Jodi Arias’ murder conviction stands, prosecutors have the option of putting on a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to secure the death penalty.
Jodi Arias will represent herself in Travis Alexander murder trial (photo Getty Images)
Jodi Arias will have the task of arguing a death penalty case just four weeks from now despite having no legal experience and no college degree or high school diploma. She got her GED in jail.
Travis Alexander’s family, who lauded Jodi Arias’ conviction after spending every day of the trial sitting in the front row of the gallery, often sobbing and looking away from horrific crime scene photographs, will now have to see Arias argue her own case in an attempt to save her life.
Her defense lawyers will remain on as advisory council.
Jodi Arias has long clashed with her defense attorneys and tried to fire them previously. The feud only intensified after she gave a series of media interviews following her May 2013 conviction. Her lawyers also have tried to withdraw several times, but the judge rebuffed their requests.
The five-month trial that began in January 2013 was broadcast live and provided seemingly endless amounts of cable TV and tabloid fodder.
Jodi Arias told jurors of an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, relationship with Travis Alexander and her contention that he had grown physically violent.
This time around the trial will not be broadcast live after the judge ruled footage may not be used until after a verdict.
If the new jury fails to reach a unanimous decision during the second penalty phase set for September 8, the death penalty will be removed from consideration. The judge would then sentence Jodi Arias to spend her life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.
According to court documents, Jodi Arias has failed to convince Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens that she should be spared the death penalty for killing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.
Jodi Arias has failed to convince Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens that she should be spared the death penalty
The documents show that Judge Sherry Stephens dismissed claims by Jodi Arias’ attorneys that her defense was hurt when a member of the defense team was prevented from visiting Arizona jails.
There was no evidence that Jodi Arias “suffered any prejudice” from the incident, Sherry Stephens said in a ruling filed Friday, Reuters reported.
A woman who helps gather information to fight death sentences was barred for a week from the county jails in March after she was accused of smuggling out a drawing by Jodi Arias, Reuters said.
Jodi Arias, 33, was convicted in 2013 of killing 30-year-old Travis Alexander in June 2008. The same jury found her eligible for the death penalty but couldn’t agree on an actual sentence.
A new jury for the penalty phase will be picked September 8.
Jodi Arias contended that she killed Travis Alexander in self-defense and that the relationship was abusive.
President Barack Obama has announced he will ask Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate problems surrounding the application of the death penalty in the US.
His announcement comes just days after a botched execution in Oklahoma drew widespread attention.
Barack Obama called inmate Clayton Lockett’s prolonged death earlier this week from an improperly delivered lethal injection “deeply troubling”.
The president said he has conflicting feelings regarding the death penalty.
“This situation in Oklahoma I think just highlights some of the significant problems,” Barack Obama told reporters.
The problems surrounding Clayton Lockett’s execution come amid a wider debate over the legality of the three-drug method (photo Fox News)
Americans should “ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues”, he added.
Barack Obama, trained as a lawyer, said the death penalty is warranted in some cases – including child and mass murder – but its application in the US is problematic.
At issue are evidence of racial bias and potential exoneration of some inmates, he said.
Barack Obama said he will task Eric Holder with providing “an analysis of what steps have been taken, not just in this particular instance, but more broadly in this area”.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ordered an “independent review” of the state’s execution protocols, saying the state’s department of public safety would lead the inquiry.
Prison officials in Oklahoma inserted lethal drugs into Clayton Lockett’s groin after failing to find a vein elsewhere.
They took 51 minutes to find a suitable vein and did not realize the one they chose in his groin had collapsed.
The inmate succumbed to a heart attack 10 minutes after his execution was stopped, as he writhed and mumbled.
Clayton Lockett had been sentenced to death for shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in 1999.
Stephanie Neiman and a friend had interrupted the men as they robbed a home.
The problems surrounding Clayton Lockett’s execution come amid a wider debate over the legality of the three-drug method and whether its use violates guarantees in the US constitution “against cruel and unusual punishment”.
The US has encountered increasing problems in obtaining the drugs for lethal injections, amid an embargo by European pharmaceutical companies.
Jodi Arias returns to a 7ft x 11ft cell in Estrella Jail each day as she awaits to find out if she will receive the death penalty for the brutal murder of Travis Alexander.
The bunk bed with thin mattress and pink sheets is where Jodi Arias slept in the night following a harrowing day in court which saw Travis Alexander’s siblings break down as they described how their brother’s horrifying death changed their lives forever.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office invited media into see the roughly 7ft x 11ft cell in Estrella Jail where Arias will be housed until Jodi Arias’ trial has concluded.
Jodi Arias is confined to the cell 23 hours a day and does not share with another inmate.
In the bare room with concrete floor, notepads, bottles of lotion and newspaper clippings litter the small space. A stack of books rests behind the bed.
On the floor, are numerous paper bags full of papers along with a copy of The Intelligent Optimist magazine.
Jodi Arias returns to a 7ft x 11ft cell in Estrella Jail each day as she awaits to find out if she will receive the death penalty for the brutal murder of Travis Alexander
The cell is next to a block of inmate showers and payphones where Jodi Arias has been calling friends who have then tweeted on her behalf to supporters.
According to azfamily.com, self-described “America’s toughest sheriff” Joe Arpaio invited journalists to view Jodi Arias’ living quarters after reports that she had it “cushy”.
Joe Arpaio said: “This is not the Hilton Hotel.”
He also said that Jodi Arias had been relatively well-behaved during her time in one of his facilities – apart from a small infraction involving crayons.
In the area where Jodi Arias is held, there are seven other inmates – but no conversation is allowed.
Jodi Arias was transferred back to the Phoenix jail last week after spending the weekend on suicide watch at another Arizona facility.
Kirk Nurmi, Jodi Arias’ lawyer, stands to make extra $200,000, paid for by taxpayer, because his bid to stop defending her was denied.
Jodi Arias, 32, killed Travis Alexander, her on-again off-again boyfriend in 2008 by sta**ing him nearly 30 times, s****ing his throat, and finally shooting him.
She is represented by Kirk Nurmi who asked to be taken off the case, but his request was denied.
Kirk Nurmi already earns $225 an hour defending the convicted murderer, but will now earn extra $100 representing her due to his request being refused.
The County Board of Supervisor’s decided to front the money in anticipation of his impending bill for his defense of Jodi Arias, Maricopa County spokesperson Cari Gerchick told The Huffington Post.
Kirk Nurmi asked a second time on Monday after his request for a mistrial was denied by Judge Sherry Stephens – it was also denied.
His claimed that Jodi Arias has not received a fair trial because the jury was not sequestered and cameras were allowed in the courtroom.
The county has spent about $1.7 million to date on Jodi Arias’ defense, Cari Gerchick said.
Meanwhile jurors in the murder trial resumed deliberations today after they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether she should be sentenced to life in prison or death for killing her one-time boyfriend, prompting the judge to instruct them to keep trying.
The panel reported its impasse Wednesday after only about two and a half hours of deliberations. Judge Sherry Stephens told jurors to try to identify areas of agreement and disagreement as they work toward a decision.
The jury then continued deliberating until late afternoon, when it adjourned for the day without a decision.
Kirk Nurmi, Jodi Arias’ lawyer, stands to make extra $200,000, paid for by taxpayer, because his bid to stop defending her was denied
Under Arizona law, a hung jury in the death penalty phase of a trial requires a new jury to be seated to decide the punishment. If the second jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, the judge would then sentence Jodi Arias to spend her entire life in prison or be eligible for release after 25 years.
In the event of a hung jury in the Jodi Arias trial, the case could drag on for several more months, said former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley.
“If that happens, this jury would be dismissed and a second jury would be impaneled, and you’d literally have to go through the whole case again,” Rick Romley said, adding the murder conviction would stand and the new panel would be considering only the sentence.
However, the new jury would have to review evidence and hear opening statements, closing arguments and witness testimony in a “Cliffs Notes” version of the trial, Rick Romley said.
Rick Romley also noted that if the current jury deadlocks, the prosecutor could decide to take the death penalty off the table. If that happens, the judge would determine whether Jodi Arias spends her entire life in prison or is eligible for release after 25 years.
The judge cannot sentence Jodi Arias to death.
The panel heard emotional comments last week from Travis Alexander’s family as the prosecutor argued Jodi Arias should be executed for his gruesome killing.
Jodi Arias responded Tuesday by pleading for mercy, saying she can become a model prisoner by teaching inmates how to read and speak Spanish and helping the prison launch recycling programs.
She also wants to be an advocate for domestic violence victims.
The same jury of eight men and four women convicted Jodi Arias of first-degree murder two weeks ago. Jodi Arias sta**ed and sla**ed Travis Alexander about 30 times, shot him in the forehead and s**t his throat in what authorities said was a jealous rage.
Jodi Arias claimed it was self-defense.
She spoke to media outlets in jailhouse interviews Tuesday night just hours after the jury began deliberations.
Jodi Arias talked out about her murder trial, her many fights with her legal team and her belief that she “deserves a second chance at freedom someday”.
She said her lawyers let her down by not calling more witnesses who could have bolstered her claims that she was a victim of domestic violence at Travis Alexander’s hands.
Following her conviction last week, Jodi Arias told a local TV station that she preferred the death penalty.
However, Jodi Arias said Tuesday night that she changed her mind after a tearful meeting with family members, realizing her death would only cause them more pain.
“I felt like by asking for death, it’s like asking for assisted suicide, and I didn’t want to do that to my family,” Jodi Arias told the AP.
Members of jury for the Jodi Arias court case were sent home at 4.30 p.m. local time after spending the entire day deliberating whether or not they should sentence the convicted murderer to death or to spend her life in prison.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday the jury returned to the courtroom after deliberating for two and a half hours saying that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision, but that did not sit well with Judge Sherry Stephens.
Sherry Stephens ordered the jurors to go back and talk more until they came to a decision.
The rest of the afternoon was not enough, however, as they were sent home and ordered to return at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
There are three options going forward: they will either decide to sentence 32-year-old Jodi Arias to death, or to sentence her to spend her life in prison with the prospect of parole after 25 years. The third option would be if they fail to unanimously agree on those two sentences, making them a hung jury.
In that case, the judge will be forced to declare a mistrial and a new jury will be picked.
The new jury will not have any power to change her guilty conviction, and they will be solely tasked with determining how Jodi Arias will “pay” for the first degree murder.
The decision follows a trial that has staggered on for five months over the 2008 slaying of Travis Alexander, Jodi Arias’ on-again off-again boyfriend who she killed in his home in 2008. She sta**ed him nearly 30 times, s**t his throat, and shot him.
Even for the most fastidious of court followers who have developed a sense of who Jodi Arias is over the past five months of the trial, her behavior in the past week has been confusing as she gave conflicting statements about her desire thoughts on a possible death sentence.
Immediately after her guilty verdict was handed down two weeks ago, Jodi Arias granted a local news station an interview where she said that she was “in shock” and that she would rather be given the death penalty as opposed to a life sentence in prison.
Members of jury for the Jodi Arias court case were sent home after spending the entire day deliberating whether or not they should sentence her to death or to spend her life in prison
Speaking to the local Fox affiliate KSAZ, Jodi Arias said that she would “prefer to die sooner than later”.
“Longevity runs in my family, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my natural life in one place. I’m pretty healthy, I don’t smoke and I’ll probably live for a long time so that’s not something that I am looking forward to.
“I believe death is the ultimate freedom and I’d rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it.”
Those comments prompted courthouse officials to order that Jodi Arias be placed in a psychological hold and on suicide watch, which inevitably delayed the second portion of the sentencing- where jurors were forced to decide if the murder was especially aggressive.
During the ensuing testimony, called the aggravation portion of the trial, jurors heard from both sides who were able to call witnesses arguing that she should and shouldn’t be forced to die, respectively.
When she addressed the court in her own defense, Jodi Arias pledged, if allowed to live, to donate her hair to cancer patients and start a prison recycling program.
“I have made many public statements that I would prefer the death penalty to life in prison,” Jodi Arias told jurors.
“In each of those cases, I lacked perspective,” she said.
“Until very recently I could not imagine standing before you all and asking for you to give me life,” she said.
“But as I stand here now I cannot in good conscience ask you to sentence me to death.”
Jodi Arias made the statements as she tried desperately to humanize herself to jurors by sharing childhood photographs, talking about her “red-headed stage” and displaying the drawings she has created while in prison.
She followed up her case with a surprise jailhouse interview on Tuesday where she placed blame on her legal team.
The most emotional portions of the entire trial came last week, when Travis Alexander’s siblings told the court how their lives have been wrecked in the wake of their brother’s brutal murder.
The victim’s brother Stephen Alexander told how he has since been put on several different antidepressants, had to have several hospitalizations for his ulcers, and frequently wakes up in the middle of the night with vivid nightmares.
His sister Samantha told the court that even though she has been a police officer in California for 11 years, the photos of her brother’s crime scene were by far the most gra**ic she has ever seen.
They both said how difficult it was for them to see his murderer in court and on her many television appearances, so the judges’ move to force the jury to a decision deadline may be in light of the victim’s family’s wishes.
Jodi Arias tearfully pleaded with jurors to spare her from a death sentence in Travis Alexander murder case on Tuesday during a bizarre 25-minute testimony in which she pledged, if allowed to live, to donate her hair to cancer patients and start a prison recycling program.
“I have made many public statements that I would prefer the death penalty to life in prison,” Jodi Arias told jurors.
“In each of those cases, I lacked perspective,” she said.
“Until very recently I could not imagine standing before you all and asking for you to give me life,” she said.
“But as I stand here now I cannot in good conscience ask you to sentence me to death.”
Jodi Arias, 32, made the statements as she tried desperately to humanize herself to jurors by sharing childhood photographs, talking about her “red-headed stage” and displaying the drawings she has created while in prison.
Jodi Arias was found guilty earlier this month in the premeditated murder of Travis Alexander, whose body was found slumped in the shower of his Phoenix-area home in June 2008. He had been st**bed multiple times, had his throat sla**ed and been shot in the face.
“This is the worst mistake of my life,” Jodi Arias said.
“It’s the worst thing I have ever done…Before that day I wouldn’t even want to harm a spider.”
Listing ways that she could contribute positively from prison, Jodi Arias promised to teach women how to speak Spanish and to help improve literacy among inmates, as well as start a book club.
Jodi Arias also noted that she has avoided looking at Travis Alexander’s family during the trial.
“It’s never been my intention to throw mud on Travis’s name,” she said.
Jodi Arias tearfully pleaded with jurors to spare her from a death sentence in Travis Alexander murder case during a bizarre 25-minute testimony
“I loved Travis and I looked up to him. At one point, he was the world to me.”
Jodi Arias choked up as she spoke about the impact of her crime on her own family, saying they would be destroyed if she was sentenced to death.
“I want everyone’s healing to begin and everyone’s pain to stop,” she said. She also grew emotional while talking about her the fact that she will never be able to have children as a result of her actions.
“I’m not going to have children of my own,” she said.
“I’m not going to become a mother. Because of my own terrible choices, I’ve had to lay that dream to rest.”
In closing statements later Tuesday, Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott asked the jury to consider that “people are far better than their very worst deed”.
Jennifer Willmott claimed that Jodi Arias’ personality disorder and alleged emotional abuse that she observed between her mother and father “is in no way an excuse for killing [Travis Alexander]”, but they could have contributed to her crime and should therefore be considered when weighing the death penalty.
“While what she did was absolutely horrible, you have convicted her of that,” Jennifer Willmott said.
“Two wrongs do not make a right.”
“Jodi can still contribute to this world. Her life still has value,” she continued.
“We are asking you to find that Jodi’s life is worth saving.”
Prosecutor Juan Martinez followed up Jennifer Willmott by showing jurors a photograph of Travis Alexander’s bl***ied body from the scene of the murder.
The image caused a physical reaction among members of Travis Alexander’s family who were present, with several turning their heads, shielding their eyes and letting out sobs.
“Travis Alexander was 30 years old [when he was murdered],” Juan Martinez said.
“He’s still today 30 years old, because of her.”
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens had on Monday denied requests by the defense for a mistrial and to withdraw from the case. She also denied a motion for a stay to give the defense time to appeal her decisions to the Arizona Supreme Court. The defense said it would not call any more witnesses.
The jury that convicted Jodi Arias of murder found last week she had acted with extreme cruelty and ruled her eligible for the death penalty.
The murder trial has featured testimony and photographs as well as a s** tape and became a sensation on cable television news with the tale of an attractive, young woman charged with an unthinkable crime.
Jodi Arias has said she shot Travis Alexander with his own pistol when he attacked her in a rage because she dropped his camera while taking snapshots of him in the shower. She said she did not remember sta**ing him.
Juan Martinez said Jodi Arias had repeatedly sta**ed Travis Alexander for two minutes as he tried to escape from the bathroom. She then followed the bleeding victim down a hallway and sla**ed his throat when he was too weak to get away.
Travis Alexander, a 30-year-old businessman and motivational speaker with whom Jodi Arias said she was having an on-again, off-again affair, knew he was going to die and was unable to resist his attacker at that point, Juan Martinez said.
British housewife Lindsay Sandiford has lost her appeal against her death sentence in Bali for drug trafficking, a Bali High Court spokesman has said.
The Bali High Court upheld the sentence handed down to Lindsay Sandiford in January.
Lindsay Sandiford, 56, from Gloucestershire, UK, says she was coerced into smuggling 4.8 kg (10.6lb) of cocaine.
The housewife was arrested after a flight from Thailand in May 2012 and accused of being at the centre of a drugs ring.
Following her conviction earlier this year, the prosecution recommended 15 years imprisonment but a panel of judges later sentenced Lindsay Sandiford to death by firing squad.
Lindsay Sandiford has lost her appeal against her death sentence in Bali for drug trafficking
The appeal judges ruled the original decision was “accurate and correct,” the court spokesman said, adding that Lindsay Sandiford would be informed of the decision as soon as possible.
The high court, sitting in the island’s capital Denpasar, gave her 14 days to appeal to the Supreme Court starting from the day she is informed of the verdict.
If the Supreme Court rejects her appeal, Lindsay Sandiford can seek a judicial review of the decision from the same court. After that, only the country’s president can grant her a reprieve.
It was not game over for Lindsay Sandiford but it would be a long process, with many death row drug smugglers languishing in jails for up to 10 years.
There are currently 71 prisoners convicted of drug charges on death row in Indonesia and 41 of them are foreigners.
Last month, the authorities in Indonesia carried out their first execution for more than four years. Adami Wilson, a Malawi national convicted of drugs smuggling, was executed by firing squad north of Jakarta.
The British embassy in the Indonesian capital issued a statement: “We are disappointed to hear Lindsay Sandiford’s appeal has been refused by the High Court in Bali. The UK strongly opposes the death penalty and has repeatedly made representations to the Indonesian government on this matter.
“We will continue to provide consular assistance to her at this difficult time.”
At the end of January, Lindsay Sandiford lost a legal bid in the UK to get the British government to fund a lawyer for her appeal in Bali.
It had been said she was urgently in need of funding to pay for an “an adequate lawyer” because her family had exhausted all their available resources.
But the Foreign Office’s policy of not providing legal representation to British nationals overseas was backed by judges.
Lindsay Sandiford’s case has been taken up by the British human rights charity, Reprieve, which said Sandiford was “targeted by drug traffickers who exploited her vulnerability and made threats against her children”.
She is originally from Redcar in Teesside but her last UK address was in Gloucestershire. She was arrested after a flight from Bangkok and was accused of being part of a drugs ring involving three other Britons.
One of the Britons, Julian Ponder, 43, from Brighton, was jailed for six years in January after being cleared of smuggling but convicted of possessing 23 g of cocaine.
The two other Britons were also cleared of trafficking; one received a sentence of four years for possession and the other a one-year term for failing to report a crime.
State of Maryland is poised to abolish the death penalty after its lawmakers voted 82 to 56 in favor of the move.
The measure now needs to be signed by Governor Martin O’Malley to become law.
Correspondents say it will be a formality as the Democratic Martin O’Malley has campaigned for five years to have the death penalty repealed.
Once signed into law, Maryland will become the 18th US state to abolish executions.
“Evidence shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent, it cannot be administered without racial bias and it costs three times as much as life in prison without parole,” Governor Martin O’Malley said in a statement.
“What’s more, there is no way to reverse a mistake if an innocent person is put to death.”
Opponents of the bill insisted capital punishment was a necessary tool to punish those who commit the most serious crimes.
State of Maryland is poised to abolish the death penalty after its lawmakers voted 82 to 56 in favor of the move
Maryland has had the death penalty since 1638 when the territory was a British colony.However, the state has neither sentenced anyone to death nor executed a prisoner since 2005.
The vote took place in the Maryland House of Delegates in the state capital, Annapolis. Eighty Democrats and two Republicans voted for the bill, which needed 71 votes to pass. Eighteen Democrats joined 38 Republicans to vote against it.
Connecticut became the 17th state to repeal the death penalty last year, meaning more than a third of the 50 states have now renounced executions.
Lindsay Sandiford, a 56-year-old British grandmother, has been sentenced to death by firing squad in Indonesia for drug trafficking.
Lindsay Sandiford was arrested at Bali’s airport in May last year after 4.8 kg (10.6 lb) of cocaine was found in the lining of her suitcase during a routine customs check.
The woman, whose last UK address was in Gloucestershire, said she was coerced into bringing the drugs to the island.
Her lawyers said they were “surprised” at the verdict and would appeal.
Lindsay Sandiford was held after a flight from Bangkok, Thailand.
Prosecutors had recommended a 15-year sentence of imprisonment.
But the judges said there were no mitigating circumstances and the defendant did not appear to care about the consequences of her actions.
They said Lindsay Sandiford had damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination and weakened the government’s anti-drugs programme.
Her lawyer said it was very rare that judges delivered a sentence so much harsher than the prosecution had recommended.
The defendant appeared shocked and covered her head with a brown sarong to hide her face from the glare of cameras.
Lindsay Sandiford, originally from Redcar in Teesside, was accused of being at the centre of a ring involving three other Britons.
Last year, Paul Beales was sentenced to four years for possession of drugs and Rachel Dougall was jailed for one year for failing to report a crime.
The drug possession trial of Julian Ponder, from Brighton – who is believed to be Rachel Dougall’s partner – is still taking place. He is alleged to have collected cocaine from Lindsay Sandiford.
Lindsay Sandiford’s case had been taken up by the British human rights charity Reprieve, which said she had been “targeted by drug traffickers who exploited her vulnerability and made threats against her children”.
It says she was held for 10 days without access to a lawyer or translator after her arrest and the Indonesian authorities failed to inform the British embassy during this time.
In response to the sentence, Reprieve’s Harriet McCulloch said: “She is clearly not a drug king pin – she has no money to pay for a lawyer, for the travel costs of defence witnesses or even for essentials like food and water.
“She has cooperated fully with the Indonesian authorities but has been sentenced to death while the gang operating in the UK, Thailand and Indonesia remain free to target other vulnerable people.”
Lindsay Sandiford, a 56-year-old British grandmother, has been sentenced to death by firing squad in Indonesia for drug trafficking
During the trial Lindsay Sandiford’s defence lawyer told Denpasar District Court that a history of mental health problems made her vulnerable.
In a witness statement, Lindsay Sandiford apologized to “the Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesian people” for her involvement.
She added: “I would never have become involved in something like this but the lives of my children were in danger and I felt I had to protect them.”
In another statement read out in court, her son Eliot said he believed his mother was forced into trafficking after a disagreement over rent money she paid on his behalf.
Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the world, but executions rarely take place.
Most of the 40 foreigners currently on death row in Indonesia have been convicted of drug offences, according to Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy.
Five foreigners have been executed since 1998, all for drug crimes, but there have been no executions in the country since 2008, said the institute said.
The UK Foreign Office says there are currently 12 British nationals facing the death penalty abroad.
It said: “We are aware that Lindsay Sandiford is facing the death penalty in Indonesia.
“We strongly object to the death penalty and continue to provide consular assistance to Lindsay and her family during this difficult time.”
It said “repeated representations” about the case were made to Indonesia following her arrest and the foreign secretary had raised the case during the Indonesian president’s state visit in November.
The Foreign Office says its policy is to use “all appropriate influence” to prevent the execution of a British national including “high-level political lobbying when necessary”.
Any pressure by the UK government in Lindsay Sandiford’s case was now likely to occur after the judicial appeals process was complete.
Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood said the verdict was unexpected and “very worrying” and he would seek to raise the sentence with Foreign Secretary William Hague.
“I’m appalled by this development,” he said.
“We had been given encouraging signals by the Indonesian ambassador that Indonesia was moving away from the death penalty, that this was something that was associated with the days of the dictatorship, long since past.”
Meanwhile, Sebastian Saville, the former chief executive of the human rights charity Release, said the sentence was “utterly deplorable”.
But he said: “There are many people executed every year in local countries – Thailand, Cambodia – for much smaller amounts of drugs…. So it does not fall out of the remit for someone caught with 5kg of cocaine to be given the death sentence.”
Sebastian Saville added: “If we took a referendum in this country… should people caught with 5kg of cocaine be executed, yes or no… I think you’d be surprised about the number of yeses, as we live in a world which believes in punishment, not in fixing things.”
Gu Kailai, wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, has been given a suspended death sentence for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.
Gu Kailai did not contest charges at her one-day trial that she poisoned Neil Heywood in November 2011.
Suspended death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment in China.
Bo Xilai, the former communist party chief in Chongqing, was once seen as a contender for a national leadership position in a top-level reshuffle later this year.
But he has not been seen in public since the investigation into Gu Kailai was announced.
Gu Kailai’s aide, Zhang Xiaojun, was jailed for nine years for his part in the murder.
The verdict in China’s most high-profile trial for years came early on Monday, inside a court ringed by security personnel.
Gu Kailai has been given a suspended death sentence for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood
Chinese state media reported that during the 9 August trial – which was not open to all – Gu Kailai admitted she poisoned Neil Heywood in a hotel room in Chongqing, helped by her aide.
She said she had suffered a mental breakdown and that Neil Heywood had threatened her son amid a row over a property deal, state media said.
Images shown on Chinese state television showed Gu Kailai responding to the verdict.
“This verdict is just. It shows special respect for the law, reality and life,” she said.
Speaking after the sentence was announced, court spokesman Tang Yigan said the court believed Neil Heywood had threatened Gu Kailai’s son but not acted on the threats. It also found Gu had been suffering from “psychological impairment”, he said.
In a statement, the British embassy in Beijing said its thoughts were with the family of Neil Heywood.
“We welcome the fact that the Chinese authorities have investigated the death of Neil Heywood, and tried those they identified as responsible,” the statement said.
“We consistently made clear to the Chinese authorities that we wanted to see the trials in this case conform to international human rights standards and for the death penalty not to be applied.”
A lawyer for the Heywood family said they respected the court’s decision.
The sentence of death with a two-year suspension means that if Gu Kailai commits no crimes while in prison, her sentence will be commuted after two years to life imprisonment and could be further reduced for good behavior, Chinese legal expert Professor Donald Clarke writes in his blog.
Chinese internet users reacted immediately to the verdict on Twitter-like microblogging platforms.
With key names connected to the case still apparently censored, most used the phrase “suspended death sentence”. Within two hours, there were at least two million posts.
Many users expressed dissatisfaction, saying most murderers in China would be executed. Some attributed it to Gu Kailai’s background, others suggested she could eventually be freed under medical parole.
At a separate trial on 10 August, four senior police officers from Chongqing admitted charges of covering up evidence linking Gu Kailai to the murder. A court official said they had been given terms of between five and 11 years in prison, AFP reported.
Neil Heywood’s death was initially recorded as a heart attack.
The case came to light when Bo Xilai’s deputy, police chief Wang Lijun, fled to the US consulate in February, reportedly with information connected to the case.
He has not been seen in public since then and state media say he is being investigated.
It is not yet known how the Communist Party plans to deal with Bo Xilai, once seen as a powerful and ambitious high-flier.
Many analysts expected him to be promoted to the nine-strong politburo Standing Committee later in the year.
Seven committee members are due to retire, with a new generation of leaders to take their place at a party congress expected later this year.
But Bo Xilai has been stripped of his official posts and is being investigated for “discipline violations”, state media reports say.
A lengthy Xinhua news agency write-up of Gu Kailai’s trial, however, made no mention of Bo Xilai.
BO XILAI SCANDAL
• 6 February: Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun flees to the US consulate in Chengdu
• 15 March: Bo Xilai is removed from his post in Chongqing
• 20 March: Rumors suggest Bo Xilai could be linked to the death of British businessman Neil Heywood
• 10 April: Bo Xilai is suspended from party posts and his wife, Gu Kailai, is investigated over Neil Heywood’s death
• 26 July: Gu Kailai and Bo family employee Zhang Xiaojun are charged with killing Neil Heywood
• 9 August: Gu Kailai goes on trial for murder
• 20 August: Gu Kailai given suspended death sentence