السبت , يونيو 13 2020

Boston accused ‘had murder in heart’



Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if he is found guilty, as Nick Bryant reports

The trial of the man accused of bombing the Boston Marathon two years ago has begun, with his defence lawyer telling the jury he committed the crime.

“It was him,” the lawyer said as she prepared to defend Dzohkhar Tsarnaev’s actions by saying he had been influence by his older brother.

Mr Tsarnaev, 21, could face the death penalty and is charged with more than 30 counts relating to the bombings.

It was the deadliest terror attack on US soil since 9/11.

Speaking before the defence, a federal prosecutor said in opening statements on Wednesday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had “murder in his heart” when he placed the bomb.

The left side of the court was filled with about two dozen of the attack’s victims as the trial began.

Three people, including an eight-year-old boy, were killed after two pressure cooker bombs packed with nails, ball bearings and other shrapnel detonated in April 2013.

More than 260 people were injured, with many losing limbs.

Timothy WatkinsA member of Mr Tsarnaev’s defence team walks into the court Wednesday morning

Runners continue to run towards the finish line of the Boston Marathon as an explosion erupts near the finish line of the raceThe two bombs detonated at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon

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Opening statements

The prosecutor delivered his statements first. Mr Tsarnaev’s lead defence attorney followed, and immediately shocked the court by candidly telling the jury that he was responsible for the attack.

The 21-year-old suspect slouched in his chair and stared straight ahead as the prosecutor, William Weinreb, began his opening statement.

Detailing the scene near the finish line just under two years ago, the prosecutor said: “The air was filled with the smell of burning sulphur and people’s screams.”

Mr Weinreb described the backpack bomb that Mr Tsarnaev allegedly planted at the finish as “the type of bombs favoured by terrorists because it’s designed to tear people apart and create a bloody spectacle.”

Among those in attendance were Denise and Bill Richard, whose 8-year-old son, Martin, died in the bombings.

As they looked on, the prosecutor told the jury that Ms Richard watched helplessly as “the bomb tore large chunks of flesh out of Martin Richard”.

The boy had been standing on a metal barrier with other children so that he could better see the runners crossing the finish line.

Heather Abbott, who lost a leg in the attack, sat near the Richard family.

“While victims of the bombing lay in the hospital and learned that they would have to have their limbs chopped off to save their lives, the defendant pretended that nothing had happened,” Mr Weinreb said, noting that Mr Tsarnaev returned to socialise with his friends at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth following the attack.

Judy Clarke, a famed attorney who has represented a number of high-profile suspects in the past, began her opening remarks by saying: “It was him.”

She said that her team would not attempt to “sidestep” Mr Tsarnaev’s guilt in carrying out the “senseless, horribly misguided acts carried out by two brothers”.

Instead, she will argue that his elder brother, Tamerlan, masterminded the plot, and coerced the younger sibling into being a submissive participant.

Mr Tsarnaev is also accused of killing a police officer in the days after the bombing.

A huge police manhunt followed the attacks, culminating in Mr Tsarnaev’s arrest and the death of his elder brother.

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