Trial for the Boston Marathon bomb suspect had begun on March 4. In a surprising twist, defense lawyer Judy Clarke said suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had indeed dropped the backpack that exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 2013.
“It was him,” Clarke said, saving the court previous time over undisputable angles.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys painted a conflicting picture of Tsarnaev in their opening statements.
The prosecution said he is a cold-hearted intellect with “murder in his heart,” and an Islamic terrorist who believed that his way to paradise is to kill Americans whom he holds guilty for the perils Muslims endured.
Defense argued that he was a normal teenage boy, a 19-year-old when the bombing took place, interested in Facebook, cars and girls. Defense further argued that he is a brother who only looked up to his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whom Clarke pointed as the one who was self-radicalized.
Assistant United States Attorney, William Weinreb, painted a graphic picture of the scene minutes after the bomb exploded. He said there were torn flesh, blood everywhere and people’s body parts flying in the air. In a piercing recollection, he relived how shrapnel ripped the bodies of three dead victims.
Weinreb said Tsarnaev wholeheartedly admitted that he was fighting a holy war against America, and that by killing those who participated in the marathon, he had won that war. Weinreb added that the suspect believed that dropping that backpack was an important step towards reaching paradise.
Weinreb painted Tsarnaev as a ruthless murderer, who, minutes after the explosion, went straight to Whole Foods and bought a gallon of milk.
“He hung out with friends, partied and tweeted, ‘I’m a stress-free kind of guy’. He acted like he didn’t have a care in the world.”
“For the next several weeks, we’re all going to come face to face with unbearable grief, loss and pain caused by a series of senseless, horribly misguided acts carried out by two brothers,” Clarke’s opening statement went.
“It was him,” Clarke said, referring to Tsarnaev whom The New York Times described as sitting, “slouched in a chair.”
The motivation that led him to drop the backpack was the point “where we disagree” with prosecutors, Clarke went on. She then spoke of how Tsarnaev’s older brother grew obsessed with Islamic extremism and passed the influence to Tsarnaev. Clarke highlighted how Tsarnaev embraced what his older brother believed because the latter has “sheer force of personality.”
Clarke also acknowledged that the suspect scribbled the inciting words on the boat where he was captured by police. She, however, argued that Tsarnaev was just echoing the idea he had been fed with at that time.
“He wrote words that he had read and heard: that the U.S. was responsible for the suffering of Muslims.”
Witness Thomas Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, took the witness stand. He recalled the chaos and pain that engulfed the supposedly enjoyable event.
Tsarnaev did not look Grilk in the eye the whole time he was narrating the events he witnessed. As how USA Today noted, Tsarnaev was looking down at the papers in from of him.
If the jury finds Tsarnaev guilty of 30 counts of crime charged against him, the trial will proceed to its second phase where the jury determines his punishment. The jury has only two options: life in prison, or death penalty.