Bomber’s de­fi­ance on dis­play

Pros­e­cu­tors con­trast an an­gry Tsar­naev photo with vic­tims’ images to make a case for the death penalty.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Richard A. Ser­rano richard.ser­rano@la­times.com Twit­ter: @Rick­Ser­ra­noLAT

BOS­TON — In a photo never be­fore made public and taken just be­fore his 2013 ar­raign­ment for the Bos­ton Marathon bomb­ings, a 19year-old Dzhokhar Tsar­naev stands in a fed­eral court­room hold­ing cell, look­ing di­rectly into the sur­veil­lance cam­era and de­fi­antly flash­ing his long, thin mid­dle fin­ger.

Pros­e­cu­tors used the star­tling im­age Tues­day at the start of the penalty phase of Tsar­naev’s cap­i­tal mur­der trial to con­vince ju­rors that the Rus­sian im­mi­grant re­mains de­fi­ant and un­re­morse­ful, and should pay with his life for the April 2013 bomb­ings.

They con­trasted the im­age of an an­gry Tsar­naev with fam­ily por­traits of the four who died in the bomb­ing and sub­se­quent man­hunt, all of them smil­ing, in­clud­ing 8-year-old Martin Richard.

Many in the crowded Bos­ton court­room were vis­i­bly moved by the du­el­ing images — ex­actly the re­ac­tion the gov­ern­ment had hoped for in keep­ing the Tsar­naev photo un­der wraps th­ese last two years.

“This is Dzhokhar Tsar­naev,” an­nounced As­sis­tant U.S. Atty. Na­dine Pel­le­grini, un­veil­ing the July 10, 2013, pic­ture, in which he wears a bright-or­ange jail jump­suit. “Un­con­cerned, un­re­pen­tant and un­changed. With­out re­morse, he re­mains un­touched by the grief and the loss he caused.”

She turned back to the jury and said, “The United States will ask you to re­turn the just and ap­pro­pri­ate sen­tence for Dzhokhar Tsar­naev of death.”

The panel this month con­victed Tsar­naev, now 21, of all 30 counts against him for his role in the worst ter­ror­ist attack in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. Three peo­ple were killed and more than 260 oth­ers in­jured at the marathon, and a po­lice of­fi­cer was shot to death days later as the broth­ers tried to flee.

In this sec­ond and fi­nal phase of the trial, the jury must de­cide whether Tsar­naev dies in an ex­e­cu­tion cham­ber or re­ceives life in pri­son with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role.

U.S. Dis­trict Judge Ge­orge A. O’Toole Jr. told the ju­rors that the de­ci­sion was theirs alone. But he added that a death sen­tence must be unan­i­mous and come only af­ter the ju­rors con­cluded that the ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors in Tsar­naev’s crimes out­weighed any mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors the de­fense brings up, such as his trou­bled re­la­tion­ship with his older brother, Tamer­lan Tsar­naev.

The de­fense con­tends that Tamer­lan, who was killed dur­ing an at­tempt to cap­ture him, was the bomb­ing mas­ter­mind.

“Your de­ci­sion is an in­di­vid­ual judg­ment, which the law in the fi­nal anal­y­sis leaves up to each of you,” the judge told the jury. “It’s for you as fair-minded ju­rors to de­cide the ver­dict in this case.”

The gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to wrap up its case by the end of this week, with the de­fense prob­a­bly start­ing Mon­day.

Pel­le­grini urged the jury to ig­nore de­fense claims that Tsar­naev was afraid of his older brother and merely fol­lowed his lead in the bomb plot.

“Tamer­lan Tsar­naev is an easy tar­get,” Pel­le­grini said. “He was an easy tar­get when he lived. He’s an easy tar­get now that he’s dead.”

She also asked the jury not to be swayed by de­fense claims that Tsar­naev was the prod­uct of a bro­ken fam­ily.

“You may hear of prob­lems with fam­i­lies,” she told the ju­rors. “But who among them mur­ders a child? You have to look in­ward, where the fault lies. His cruel char­ac­ter can be found in the way he mur­dered.”

She said, “He mur­dered each one of them in a way they had time to feel pain.... And that is the essence of ter­ror.”

De­fense lawyers did not give an open­ing state­ment in this phase of the case.

Pros­e­cu­tors be­gan pre­sent­ing tear­ful tes­ti­mony from sur­vivors and fam­ily mem­bers about their suf­fer­ing.

Ce­leste Cor­co­ran of Low­ell, Mass., lost both of her legs, one from above the knee and the other from be­low. She was knocked to the ground and her hus­band, Kevin, tried to save her legs by strap­ping them with his belt.

“My hus­band kept say­ing, ‘This is a ter­ror attack.... This was a bomb!’ ” she said.

Gil­lian Reny of Bos­ton had been watch­ing her sis­ter, Danielle, run the marathon. “My leg was al­most com­pletely torn apart,” said Reny, an as­pir­ing dancer. “I was in shock and had noth­ing to stand on. My body crum­pled to the ground.”

Wil­liam Camp­bell III of Bed­ford, Mass., spoke about his sis­ter Krys­tle Camp­bell, a 29-year-old restau­rant manager. He said the fam­ily thought she was in surgery and waited for hours, only to learn it was a dif­fer­ent vic­tim and that Krys­tle had died.

Asked what he missed the most about her, Camp­bell said, “Just be­ing able to talk to her. It’s that sim­ple.”

Sketches by Jane Flavell Collins As­so­ci­ated Press

CE­LESTE COR­CO­RAN, de­picted on the wit­ness stand, re­calls her hus­band say­ing, “This was a bomb!” as he tried in vain to save her legs.

BILL CAMP­BELL tes­ti­fies be­fore a photo of his late daugh­ter, Krys­tle Camp­bell, dressed up for prom. For hours, the fam­ily thought she was just in surgery.

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