Mom seeks answers at Boston bombing trial over injured sons

2015-01-03 14:05
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI/ AP)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI/ AP)

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Boston - When the trial of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev begins, Liz Norden plans to stop working altogether.

With two sons maimed in the blast, the 52-year-old American says the marathon destroyed her life, and she won't miss the proceedings.

On the morning of the bombing, her sons JP, who was age 33 at the time, and Paul, aged 31, were cheering on a friend near the marathon's finish line.

Then the twin bombs exploded, 12 seconds apart, killing three people and wounding 264 more -- including Paul and JP.

The April 15, 2013 attack was the worst such incident in the US since 9/11.


JP arrived in the hospital clinically dead. Paul was in a coma for several days.

They were burned on more than 50% of their bodies, missing eyelashes and eyebrows and with burst eardrums, their mother said.

Worst of all, they each lost their right legs.

The brothers underwent 50 surgeries between them - with more still to come for JP - before their long and painful rehabilitation.

Afterwards, the brothers wrote the book "Twice as Strong" about their ordeal.

No longer able to work in their previous professions as a roofer and a truck driver, the two look to the future with ambitions to open a roofing company.

"It's difficult for them, but they don't complain," their mom told AFP from her small home in Stoneham, near Boston.

"They have accepted what happened to them and honestly, they have accepted it better than I do."

'I want him dead'

Neither JP nor Paul plan to attend the trial, claiming that it won't change anything for them, but their mom feels differently.

"I am so bitter, so angry and they are not... I am sad to see how much it has changed for them" the mother of five said.

For a year, Liz has collected all articles in the media about her sons, in an attempt to "try to make sense of it."

As for the trial, she is going to leave her job as a nanny to sit in the section reserved for families in the third-floor courtroom at the Boston federal court.

"This is that important to me," she said.

Liz doesn't bring up Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but when pressed on the topic, her usually cheery demeanour turned weary.

"I want him dead. I think that would be justice," she said.

'Act of terror'

Tsarnaev faces the death penalty if convicted over the attack.

He is accused of carrying out the attacks with his brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police as the pair went on the run in the days immediately after the attacks.

Dzhokhar has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges, which include conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and bombing a public place resulting in death.

His main lawyer, Judy Clarke, is a renowned specialist on the death penalty who has saved several convicts from execution by encouraging them to plead guilty to lesser charges than those originally put forward.

But, Liz said she hopes there is no plea deal, emphasising, "I think he deserves the death penalty."

"My boys didn't sign to go to the war... They were not out drunk driving, or in a reckless car accident. This wasn't an accident, this was an act of terror," she said.

The trial, expected to last three months, begins on Monday with jury selection.

Read more on:    dzhokhar tsarnaev  |  us  |  boston explosions

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