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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Defense Wraps Quickly

BOSTON (CN) - After 16 days of painful testimony by government witnesses in Boston Marathon bombing trial, attorneys for Dzhokar Tsarnaev wrapped up their defense quickly.

The defense rested its case on Tuesday after calling four witnesses over less than two days of trial.

The last of the prosecution's 92 witnesses testified Monday. Over the last several weeks of trial, the government had jurors hold models of pressure-cooker bombs, visit the bloodstained boat where Tsarnaev was apprehended, hear from survivors, watch video of the bombings and look at clothing the youngest casualty, Martin Richard, 8, was wearing when he died on the scene, USA Today reported.

Tsarnaev, 21, stands accused of killing Richard and two others, plus injuring 264 others, in the largest terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition to charges over the destruction wrought by the pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs Tsarnaev left at the finish line f the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, the ethnic Chechen faces liability for the measures he took while trying to escape.

Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, 26, killed Sean Collier, a 27-year-old police officer for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during this four-day manhunt, and carjacked a Mercedes.

Tamerlan died in a shootout with police, but Tsarnaev evaded apprehension a bit longer while adding one more injury to his tally, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer Richard Donohoe.

The naturalized U.S. citizen faces 30 counts of criminal acts, 17 of which carry the death penalty.

Four digital forensics experts whom the defense called to the stand this week told jurors that the evidence of researching radio transmitters and guns was found on Tamerlan's computers, according to ABC News.

Tsarnaev's laptop showed he mostly surfed social-media sites, along with several searches for "the call of Jihad," USA Today reported.

Since Tsarnaev had logged into his personal email on Tamerlan's computer, however, the prosecution noted that what was found on which computer matters little, according to ABC News.

A FBI fingerprint examiner also testified that Tsarnaev's fingerprints were not found on items that were supposedly used to make the bombs, including rolls of duct tape, a caulk gun and a glass jar filled with small nails, ABC News reported.

Tsarnaev's defense has focused on portraying him as mesmerized by extremist older brother Tamerlan, supposedly the defendant's biggest role model after their parents moved back to Russia. The family arrived in the United States over a decade ago as refugees from Kyrgyzstan.

Restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, and graduate student Lingzi Lu, 23, were the other victims of the bombing.

Closing arguments in the Boston Marathon bombing trial have been set for Monday.

Tsarnaev's defense noted from the outset that they are more focused on the penalty phase that will follow after the jury returns a guilty verdict.

"It was him," attorney Judy Clarke said in her opening statement. "You might say, so why a trial?"

Clark said her client "must be held responsible, but he came to his role from a different path than the one suggested by the prosecution."

The difference for Tsarnaev is a death sentence or life in prison.

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