Boston Bomber's teacher: He always wanted to do the right thing

2015-04-30 08:29
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI/ AP)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI/ AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Boston - Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a quiet, hardworking pupil and "always wanted to do the right thing," a primary school teacher testified on Wednesday to jurors who will decide whether he spends the rest of his life in prison or is sentenced to death.

Catheryn Charner-Laird testified on the third day of the defence case in the penalty phase of Tsarnaev's trial as his lawyers shifted the focus away from his older brother, Tamerlan. The defence has portrayed Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died days after the bombing, as the mastermind of the attack.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were wounded when twin pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon on April 15 2013.

Tsarnaev, aged 21, was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including 17 that carry the possibility of the death penalty. The same jury must now decide his punishment.

Tsarnaev's defence team has focused heavily on Tamerlan, arguing he was a domineering influence on Dzhokhar and led him down the path to terrorism.

But on Wednesday, Tsarnaev's lawyers began calling witnesses to testify about what he was like as a child, years before he became the Boston Marathon bomber.

"He was just learning English at that time," Charner-Laird said, referring to Tsarnaev's recent move to the US from Russia with his family.

Retaliate

Tsarnaev was just 9 in the autumn of 2002 when he was one of her students in a combination class for third- and fourth-graders at the Cambridgeport School, she said.

"He was incredibly hardworking," she said. "He cared a lot about his studies; he tried very hard."

Many times, he didn't know what to do because of the language barrier, she said. But he "always wanted to do the right thing," she said.

"He never seemed to stop or give up," she said.

Prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty cross-examined her briefly, asking if she knew Dzhokhar to be disciplined and smart. She said he was. The question appeared designed to rebut the defence claim that Dzhokhar was under Tamerlan's influence when he participated in the bombings.

Prosecutors have said the brothers were partners in the bombings, which were designed to retaliate against the US for its actions in Muslim lands.

The defense also showed the jury two photographs of a cherubic-looking Tsarnaev from about the same time. In one of the photos, he is sitting on a bench next to Tamerlan, who is about 16. Tamerlan has his arm around him, while Dzhokhar rests his arm on his older brother's leg.

In another photo, Dzhokhar is shown smiling with his mother, two sisters and the landlady who owned the Cambridge apartment building where they lived.

Read more on:    dzhokhar tsarnaev  |  us  |  boston explosions

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.