Prosecutor: Boston bomber wanted to punish America

2015-04-06 21:15
Dzohkhar Tsarnaev (AP)

Dzohkhar Tsarnaev (AP)

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Boston - Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "wanted to punish America" when he killed three people and injured 264 with a pair of homemade bombs at the race on April 25, 2013, a federal prosecutor said on Monday.

In closing arguments before a jury decides whether Tsarnaev, 21, is guilty of the bombing and of fatally shooting a police officer three days later, Assistant US Attorney Aloke Chakravarty described the attacks as a deliberate, extremist act.

"The defendant thought that his values were more important than the people around him. He wanted to awake the mujahedeen, the holy warriors," Chakravarty said. "He wanted to terrorise this country. He wanted to punish America for what it was doing to his people."

Tsarnaev could be sentenced to death if the jury that heard 16 days of testimony against him finds him guilty of the attack.

His lawyers opened the trial a month ago with a blunt admission, that "it was him" who carried out the attack. But they contended that Tsarnaev did so not out of his own ideological anger but out of a sense of subservience to his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, who prosecutors say was his partner in the attack.

Tamerlan died early on April 19, 2013, following a gunfight with police that ended when Dzhokhar sped off in a car, running his brother over in the process. Dzhokhar later found a hiding spot in a boat in a backyard, where he wrote a note suggesting the attack was an act of retribution for US military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries.

Tsarnaev's attorneys will deliver their closing argument later on Monday

Monday's closing statements could be a preview of the arguments each side plans to make during the next phase of the trial, when the same jury will hear a fresh round of witness testimony before determining whether to sentence Tsarnaev to life in prison without possibility of parole, or to death.

Read more on:    dzhokhar tsarnaev  |  us  |  boston bombings

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