Boston bombing jury shown gory wounds

2015-04-23 17:59
A man sweeps around the outdoor seating area at a business on Boylston Street in Boston about two blocks from the Boston Marathon finish line where two bombings killed three people and injured many. (Elise Amendola, AP)

A man sweeps around the outdoor seating area at a business on Boylston Street in Boston about two blocks from the Boston Marathon finish line where two bombings killed three people and injured many. (Elise Amendola, AP)

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Boston - The jury that will decide whether convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is sentenced to death viewed photos on Thursday of 18 people who lost limbs in the deadly 2013 attack and heard from two amputees.

One of them, 36-year-old Marc Fucarile recalled being knocked to the ground by the second of two explosions and hearing someone yell that he was on fire.

"I remember a lot of pressure on my chest, felt like someone was sitting on my chest but it was from the nurse holding me down, and I remember her screaming, 'Oh shit, he's still on fire,'" said Fucarile, whose right leg was amputated on the scene.

Fucarile's testimony came on the third day of the trial's sentencing phase in US District Court in Boston. The jurors will determine whether the 21-year-old ethnic Chechen is sentenced to death or life in prison without possibility of parole.

The same jury found Tsarnaev guilty early this month of killing three people and injuring 264 in the April 15, 2013, attack, as well as fatally shooting a police officer three days later as he and his brother prepared to flee the city.

People screaming

Heather Abbott had also been standing outside the Forum restaurant when the first bomb went off.

"I saw smoke and started hearing people scream and immediately what came to mind was footage I had seen on 9/11 when the [New York World Trade Centre] buildings collapsed. ... Before I could even react, the second explosion occurred," Abbott testified.

"I was catapulted through the front doors of the restaurant, which were open, and I landed on the ground in a puddle of chaos and glass and blood."

Abbott, who lost a leg and has developed relationships with the other 17 people who lost limbs in the blast, showed the jury photos of each.

Glared at Tsarnaev

Dr David King, a trauma surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and a veteran combat surgeon, told jurors the injuries caused by the home-made pressure-cooker bombs were similar to what he had seen in Afghanistan.

"The type of wounds that we see from explosive devices that are placed on the ground is fairly typical; it involves blast and fragmentation injury," said King, who had run the marathon that morning.

In making their case that Tsarnaev should get the death penalty, federal prosecutors have called a series of witnesses to describe the permanent gaps in their lives after the loss of their loved ones.

Eight-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Chinese graduate student Lingzi Lu and 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell were killed in the bombings. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was shot to death in his police cruiser.

Prosecutors have said that Tsarnaev read and followed bomb-making instructions found in al-Qaeda's "Inspire" magazine and left a note suggesting the attack was an act of retribution for US military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries.

Defence attorneys, who are due next week to begin making their case that Tsarnaev should get a life sentence rather than death, are expected to argue that 26-year-old Tamerlan was the driving force behind the attack, with Dzhokhar playing a secondary role.

Tamerlan died following a gunfight with police hours after Collier's murder.

Fucarile, one of the more outspoken victims, wheeled himself into the courtroom on Thursday and glared at Tsarnaev, who avoided his gaze.

In December, he angrily confronted a group outside the courthouse who claimed the bombing was a hoax, pointing to his prosthetic right leg as evidence of its reality.

Read more on:    dzhokhar tsarnaev  |  us  |  boston bombings

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