BOSTON — The trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev opened Wednesday, with the defendant’s attorney admitting that her client was guilty but placing the focus on his older, dead brother.
Attorney Judy Clarke told the jury, “It was him.”
She says the only thing the defense disagrees with prosecutors about is “why.”
Clarke called the bombings a “series of senseless, horribly misguided acts carried out by two brothers.”
But she portrayed brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the ringleader, saying he planned it and “enlisted his brother into these series of horrific acts.”
Tamerlan died in a shootout with police.
Clarke says: “The evidence will not establish and we will not argue that Tamerlan put a gun to Dzhokhar’s head or that he forced him to join in the plan, but you will hear evidence about the kind of influence that this older brother had.”
But a prosecutor told the jury that Tsarnaev’s motive for the Boston Marathon bombing was to reach paradise by claiming victory in a holy war against Americans.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said Wednesday in opening statements that Tsarnaev “acted like he didn’t have a care in the world” after the bombings. He says Tsarnaev hung out with friends while victims learned their limbs would have to be cut off.
The prosecutor described how 8-year-old Martin Richard stood on a metal barrier with other children so he could see the runners. Weinreb says Martin’s mother found him lying on the ground bleeding to death after the bombs exploded.
The victims watched somberly as Weinreb described the carnage. Several victims hung their heads and appeared to fight back tears.
Weinreb said Wednesday that Tsarnaev carried a bomb in a backpack.
The prosecutor says: “It was the type of bomb favored by terrorists because it’s designed to tear people apart and create a bloody spectacle.”
Tsarnaev had no reaction and continued to look straight ahead — not at the jury, not at the prosecutor.
Weinreb continued: “The air was filled with the smell of burning sulfur and people’s screams.”
The Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent related shootings were a series of attacks and incidents that began on April 15, 2013, when two pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon at 2:49 pm EDT, killing 3 people and injuring an estimated 264 others. The bombs exploded about 12 seconds and 210 yards apart, near the finish line on Boylston Street.