Defense lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have rested their case after trying to shift jurors’ focus onto his older brother, Tamerlan, who they say masterminded the April 15, 2013 attack.
The defense has made it clear from the beginning of the trial that its strategy is not to win an acquittal for the younger Tsarnaev, but to save him from the death penalty.
Tsarnaev, 21, faces the death penalty or life in prison if found guilty of the April 15, 2013 attack. Three people were killed and 264 others wounded in the twin blasts he and his older brother, Tamerlan, are accused of setting off and planning.
Prosecutors concluded their case Monday with graphic testimony from a medical examiner about the blast injuries that killed 8-year-old Martin Richard – the youngest victim in the attack.
Several jurors cried as they were shown autopsy photos of the boy, who suffered a ruptured stomach, broken bones and third-degree burns when his body was torn apart by one of the pressure cooker bombs.
The boy’s parents were in the courtroom as their son’s devastating end was described. Another medical examiner told the court how Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23, bled to death on the sidewalk.
Prosecutors said the brothers, who were born in Kyrgyzstan and lived briefly in Russia’s mostly-Muslim Dagestan region before coming to the U.S., were driven by Islam and seeking retaliation against the U.S. for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The defense argued it was Tamerlan who “self-radicalized,” and Dzhokhar merely “followed him.”