BY JASMINE SUTHERLAND
Nearly two years after the devastating bomb blasts that struck the Boston Marathon in April 2013 leaving three dead and 260 others injured, alleged bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will face the jury for the first time in what could turn out to be a five month trial.
Tsarnaev’s lawyer admitted “It was him” as she started the defence of her 21 year old client, who was 19 at the time of the attack. Defence lawyers explained that Tsarnaev was raised in a dysfunctional family. A distant father and a mother who had become and religious fanatic led to his obedient and somewhat submissive attitude and character toward his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed in a police shootout in the days following the horrific bombings.
Defence attorney Judy Clarke portrayed Dzhokhar as a follower of his brother who had become a father figure and was in fact the one who had bought the pressure cookers, BB guns and the fireworks used to assemble the bombs. She said Dzhokhar’s path was one “borne of his brother, paid by his brother” and that Dzhokhar had “bought into his brothers plan”.
In the court room sat two dozen of his alleged victims, including Denise and Bill Richard whose eight-year-old son Martin was among the three people killed in the bombings. A prosecutor told the jury that Ms Richard watched helplessly as ” the bomb tore large chunks of flesh out of Martin Richard”.
The trial will be split into two parts. The first is to determine whether Tsarnaev is guilty or innocent, and the second will determine his punishment. This is where jurors will decide whether he is to face the death penalty or spend life in jail without parole.