Boston bomber ‘out to terrorise US’


Published: Tuesday 7th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made a cold-blooded decision to punish America for its wars in Muslim countries as he planted a backpack containing a bomb near a group of children, the jury at his death penalty trial has been told.

“This was a cold, calculated terrorist act. This was intentional. It was bloodthirsty. It was to make a point,” federal prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty said. “It was to tell America that ‘We will not be terrorised by you any more. We will terrorise you’.”

Defence lawyer Judy Clarke argued, as she did at the trial’s outset, that Tsarnaev took part in the attack but under the malevolent influence of his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan. She repeatedly referred to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, then 19, as a “kid” and a “teenager”.

“If not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened,” Ms Clarke said.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating today in the case against Tsarnaev, 21, almost two years after the twin bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded more than 260.

If Tsarnaev is convicted – a near certainty, given his lawyer’s admission – the jury will then begin hearing evidence on whether he should serve life in prison or be put to death.

Prosecutors used their closing argument to remind the jury of the horror of that day, showing photographs and video of the carnage and chaos after the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs exploded.

In one video, jurors could hear the agonising screams of Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager who bled to death on the pavement. Another woman and an eight-year-old boy were also killed.

Taking aim at the argument that Tsarnaev was led astray by his older brother, Mr Chakravarty repeatedly referred to the Tsarnaevs as “a team” and “partners” in the attack.

“That day, they felt they were soldiers. They were the mujahedeen, and they were bringing their battle to Boston,” the prosecutor said.

As for the youngsters killed or maimed by the bomb that was in Dzhokhar’s backpack, Mr Chakravarty said: “These children weren’t innocent to him. They were American. Of all the places that he could have placed the bomb, he placed it right there.”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died four days after the bombings after he was shot by police and run over by Dzhokhar during a getaway attempt. Dzhokhar was captured hiding in a dry-docked boat.

At the end of his closing argument, Mr Chakravarty displayed photos of those killed in the bombings and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who was shot dead during the getaway attempt.

“They are no longer with us,” he said. “This is the result of the defendant’s choice to be a terrorist, his choice to make a statement. These were choices that he was proud of.”

Ms Clarke struck a conciliatory tone in her closing argument, admitting the attack brought “tragedy, suffering and grief in dimensions that none of us could imagine were possible”.

But in a strategy clearly aimed at saving Tsarnaev from the death penalty, she said Tamerlan played a much more prominent role, buying bomb components, including pressure cookers, BBs and remote control parts.

She said Tamerlan researched via computer how to build the bombs and planned the attack. His fingerprints, but not Dzhokhar’s, were found on pieces of the two bombs.

“We’re not asking you to excuse the conduct,” Ms Clarke said, “but let’s look at the varying roles.”

Published: Tuesday 7th April 2015 by The News Editor

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