Grisly tes­ti­mony at Bos­ton bomb­ing trial as pros­e­cu­tors rest


U.S. pros­e­cu­tors rested their case Mon­day in the trial of Bos­ton bomb­ing sus­pect Dzhokhar Tsar­naev af­ter grue­some tes­ti­mony about the death of the youngest vic­tim left some ju­rors in tears.

De­fense at­tor­neys then be­gan call­ing wit­nesses, try­ing to min­i­mize the role of the 21-year-old Tsar­naev — who could face the death penalty if con­victed — in the plan­ning of the April 15, 2013 attack.

Three peo­ple were killed and 264 oth­ers wounded in the twin blasts at the city’s marathon — the worst attack in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 at­tacks on the World Trade Cen­ter and the Pen­tagon, head­quar­ters of the U.S. De­fense Depart­ment.

Pros­e­cu­tors sum­moned 92 wit­nesses to the stand in the past four weeks, build­ing a case against Tsar­naev as an ac­tive and will­ing par­tic­i­pant in the bomb­ings that ripped through crowds gath­ered near the race’s fin­ish line.

Their fi­nal wit­ness was chief med­i­cal ex­am­iner Henry Nields, who re­counted in graphic de­tail the in­juries suf­fered by the youngest vic­tim, eight-year-old Martin Richard, who was torn apart by one of the pres­sure-cooker bombs.

The child’s blood-stained cloth­ing was shown to ju­rors, some of whom were un­able to hold back tears. The boy suf­fered a mas­sive wound to the ab­domen, along with burns.

“He was eight years old,” Nields re­it­er­ated.

Ju­rors also were shown pho­to­graphs of the Richard fam­ily, stand­ing on the race’s side­lines in front of Tsar­naev.

An­other photo showed the boy ly­ing on the ground af­ter the at­tacks, in which his younger sis­ter Jane also lost a leg.

The boys’ par­ents, Denise and Bill, were in the court­room.

An­other med­i­cal ex­am­iner, Kather­ine Lind­strom, told the court how Chi­nese stu­dent Lingzi Lu, 23, bled out on the side­walk in only a few min­utes. She showed pho­tos of the woman’s dire wounds.

In­flu­enced by His Brother?

At the start of the trial, de­fense lawyer Judy Clarke ac­knowl­edged that Tsar­naev — an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen of Chechen de­scent — and his el­der brother Tamer­lan were re­spon­si­ble for the car­nage.

But Clarke put the bulk of the blame on the el­der Tsar­naev, who was killed in a shootout with po­lice fol­low­ing the blasts.

“It was Tamer­lan Tsar­naev who self-rad­i­cal­ized. It was Dzhokhar who fol­lowed,” Clarke said dur­ing open­ing state­ments.

Tsar­naev has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges over the at­tacks, the mur­der of a po­lice of­fi­cer, a car­jack­ing and the shootout with po­lice while on the run.

Seven­teen of those charges carry the pos­si­bil­ity of the death penalty un­der fed­eral law.

Dur­ing nearly four weeks of tes­ti­mony, pros­e­cu­tors painted the pic­ture of a cold, cal­lous killer — a mar­i­juana-smok­ing, laid-back stu­dent who had re­cently failed a num­ber of ex­ams and be­come an avid reader of the Is­lamist lit­er­a­ture that in­ves­ti­ga­tors found on his com­puter.

Ju­rors were shown a video of Tsar­naev ca­su­ally buy­ing milk just 30 min­utes af­ter the bomb­ings.

They were also shown a mes­sage left by Tsar­naev in­side a boat, the bolt­hole where he was ar­rested four days af­ter the at­tacks that ap­peared to jus­tify the at­tacks by crit­i­ciz­ing the U.S. gov­ern­ment over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the de­fense painted a dif­fer­ent pic­ture — one of a younger brother who did not par­tic­i­pate in pur­chas­ing the items needed to build the bombs.

Com­puter ex­pert Gerry Grant told the court that when the pres­sure cook­ers for the bombs were be­ing bought in Sau­gus on a night in Jan­uary 2013, Tsar­naev’s cell phone was emit­ting sig­nals from the Uni­ver­sity of Mas­sachusetts Dart­mouth, dozens of kilo­me­ters away.

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