December 14, 2017
Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Boston Marathon bombing trial opens

A memorial for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and its aftermath stands near the race''s finish line.

Boston will relive some of its worst memories today when federal prosecutors begin laying out their case against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Tsarnaev, 21, is charged with killing three people and injuring 264 with two homemade pressure-cooker bombs that ripped through the crowd at the race's finish line on April 15, 2013. He could be sentenced to death if convicted of charges that also include fatally shooting a police officer.

Prosecutors told US District Judge George O'Toole on Monday that they may want to show as evidence autopsy photos of the attack's victims, one an 8-year-old boy.

They also want to play clips from an FBI news conference where officials released photos of Tsarnaev and his older brother identifying them as suspects and setting off a course of events that led to a day-long lockdown of most of the Boston area in a massive manhunt.

Defense attorneys, meanwhile, aim to portray Tsarnaev as having been under the spell of his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who they contend was the mastermind of the attack. Tamerlan died following an April 18, 2013, gun battle with police.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges in a 30-count indictment.

A dozen or so people injured in the attack and family members, including dancer Heather Abbott and Marc Fucarile, both of whom lost legs in the blasts, filed into the federal courthouse early today.

A panel of 10 women and eight men, all white, were chosen to hear Tsarnaev's trial and, if they find him guilty, to determine whether to sentence him to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole in proceedings expected to last into June.

Security was tight around the courthouse, where officials have closed some nearby roads amid several large-scale construction projects.

Defense attorneys had cited the "Boston Strong" signs that hung on some of those sites in their four requests to move the trial out of the city that was the site of the largest mass-casualty attack on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

The bombing killed restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29; graduate student Lingzi Lu, 23; and Martin Richard, 8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 27, was fatally shot three days later.

Outside the courthouse, the scene was quiet other than a throng of news media. The judge had rejected a request by defense lawyers to prevent pro-Tsarnaev protesters, who they said advocated conspiracy theories, but none of the supporters were visible early on Wednesday.

One man wearing a Veterans for Peace button carried a sign reading "Death Penalty is Murder."

"This man should not be given the death penalty. That's why I'm here," said Joe Kebartas, a 66-year-old retiree. "No one should be put to death in this country."

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Tags:  Boston Marathon  bombing  trial  Tsarnaev  US  World  

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