Prosecution in Boston bombing trial wrapping up

2015-03-30 20:13
Dzohkhar Tsarnaev (AP)

Dzohkhar Tsarnaev (AP)

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Boston - Federal prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case against the accused Boston Marathon bomber on Monday with more testimony about the grievous injuries the blasts inflicted on the three people killed in the 15 April 2013 attack.

The final witness last week was a medical examiner who described the extensive burns and wounds suffered by 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell when one of the twin homemade pressure-cooker bombs exploded next to her as she watched runners near the finish line.

The jury on Monday is expected to hear testimony and see photos of Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23, and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who also died in the blasts that injured 264.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is charged with carrying out the bombing attack, as well as shooting dead university police officer Sean Collier three days later as he and his older brother prepared to flee the city. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died that night after a gunfight with police that ended when Dzhokhar ran him over with a hijacked car.

Defence attorneys opened the trial last month with a blunt admission that their client had done everything federal prosecutors accused him of. But they contended he did so out of a sense of subservience to his older brother, rather than his own anger at his adopted country.

By painting Tamerlan as the driving force behind the attacks, the defence aims to spare the younger Tsarnaev a death sentence, instead hoping to persuade the jury to determine that he should spend the rest of his life in prison.

Ethnic Chechens, the Tsarnaevs immigrated to the United States about a decade before the attack, settling just outside Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

After the prosecution calls its last witness, the defence will have a chance to call its own witnesses, which could include Tsarnaev himself.

But they will be limited in how much evidence they put forward about the relative blame of the two brothers before the jury determines whether their client is guilty of the charges he faces.

If the jury does find him guilty, the trial will enter a second, or penalty, phase in which both sides will call another round of witnesses before the same jury determines whether Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death, or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Read more on:    tamerlan tsarnaev  |  dzhokhar tsarnaev  |  us  |  boston bombings

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