BOSTON (CN) - The Boston Marathon bombing trial kicked off on Wednesday with the defense attempting to paint Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a mere marionette controlled his maniacal older brother.
Tsarnaev, 21, faces 30 counts of criminal acts, 17 of which carry the death penalty, for his role in largest terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the measures he took while trying to escape: murdering a cop, a carjacking, and a shootout with police.
The defendant's brother, Tamerlan, died in the manhunt that ensued after their bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon left three dead and 264 injured.
In the courtroom Wednesday, Tsarnaev was the only man not wearing a tie. He slouched over the defense table, cradling his face in his right hand, looking rather uninterested. Although his posture shifted, his countenance would not change throughout the day. Dozens of people, many of them survivors, filled the courtroom, with the four overflow room designated for the public and press.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb began his opening statements Wednesday by describing the scene in Boston on April 15, 2013, before the pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon's finish line detonated at 2:49 p.m. It was a beautiful Monday, a holiday, Patriots Day. Families bustled about, and a victory at Fenway for the Red Sox emptied even more people onto the crowded sidewalks.
Weinreb described a row of children standing in front of a restaurant watching the marathon. Tsarnaev approached them. His thick, dark, curly hair sprouting out from underneath a white baseball cap casually turned backward, as a video from the restaurant would later show when Weinreb played it.
"Looking at the backs of children," Weinreb said is when Tsarnaev found the spot to leave his backpack that concealed a bomb "designed to tear people apart, shred flesh, shatter bone."
"He wanted to punish the U.S. for mistreating Muslims," Weinreb said, the first time addressing Tsarnaev's alleged motive.
"The bomb detonated with a deafening roar and created a fireball several stories high," Weinreb continued.
Juxtaposed against jovial photos of the victims, Weinreb gave a gruesome soliloquy on the final moments of each of the three people killed.
Martin Richard, 8, was one of the children in front of the restaurant. By the time he arrived at the morgue, he had no blood left in him. In the photo shown to the courtroom, however, he smiled as only a child on the Tooth Fairy's speed dial might.
Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Chinese graduate student with a passion for music, tried to push the insides she saw lying next to her back inside. She, like Richard, bled to death on the sidewalk. She was in a cafe in her photo, smiling genuinely at the photographer, who captured the soft light enveloping her from behind.
Krystle Campbell, 29, was a restaurant manager, waiting for her boyfriend to cross the finish line. When the bomb went off, she was left with gaping wounds in her torso and legs. A friend, Karen Rand McWatters, held Campbell's hand until she passed. In the picture shown, she is wearing a Patriot's jersey, and has an arm draped over the back of a portable chair one would bring to a tailgate party.
"There were a lot of heroes that day," Weinreb said of the three-block crime scene covered in blood, human remains, and hundreds of pieces of scrap metal.