"After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant's counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter," Xinhua quoted Attorney General Eric Holder saying in a statement.
"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," he said in the brief statement released by the Department of Justice.
The decision sets in motion the highest profile federal death penalty case since Timothy McVeigh was prosecuted and executed for the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, local media said.
Since the federal government reinstated the death penalty in 1988, it has executed just three people, including McVeigh, the report said.
Investigators allege that the 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his order brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted two homemade bombs near the finish line of the Marathon race last April, resulting in deaths and the bombing of a public place.
Though Tamerlan died after a shoot-out with the police four days after the bombing, Dzhokhar was apprehended in a suburb of Boston following massive manhunt.
Dzhokhar pleaded not guilty to 30 charges for his alleged role in the bombings.