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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial


Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cried in court as his sobbing aunt briefly took the stand on May 4 in his federal death penalty trial before she was asked to step down to compose herself.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, wiped tears from his eyes quickly and fidgeted in his chair as his mother’s sister Patimat Suleimanova sobbed uncontrollably.

He had maintained a disinterested expression since his trial began in January.

Patimat Suleimanova cried as she sat down about 10ft from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The tears began falling before she began to testify, and she was only able to answer questions about her name, her year of birth and where she was born.

After a few minutes, Judge George O’Toole Jr. suggested that the defense call a different witness so Patimat Suleimanova could compose herself. As she left the witness stand, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev used a tissue to wipe his eyes and nose.

Five relatives of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – three cousins and two aunts – took the stand, though it was unclear if the aunt who broke down would be allowed to complete her testimony.

As Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was led out of the courtroom before the lunch recess, he blew a kiss at family members.Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial 2015

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted last month of 30 federal charges in the bombings, including 17 that carry the possibility of the death penalty.

He moved to the US with his family in 2002 and committed the bombings when he was 19.

Prosecutors say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was an equal partner in the bombings with his radicalized older brother, Tamerlan, and have urged the jury to sentence him to death.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers say Tamerlan, 26, was the mastermind of the attack and lured his brother into his plan.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died days after the bombings following a shootout with police.

A cousin testified on May 4 that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a kind and warm child, so gentle that he once cried while watching The Lion King.

“I think that his kindness made everybody around him kind,” Raisat Suleimanova said through a Russian translator.

Assistant US Attorney William Weinreb pounced, asking Raisat Suleimanova if she believes a deadly attack on innocent civilians can be considered kind.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyer objected, and Raisat Suleimanova was not allowed to answer the question.

Shakhruzat Suleimanova, another sister of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat, testified that Dzhokhar, Tamerlan and their two sisters were well-behaved as children.

“They were so good. They wouldn’t hurt a fly. My sister’s children were such good children,” she said.

Shakhruzat Suleimanova said the family was crushed when Zubeidat Tsarnaeva moved to the US with her husband and children.

Five or six years later, when Zubeidat Tsarnaeva returned to Russia for a visit, the family was shocked to see her sister – always a fashionable dresser – covered in black clothing and wearing a jihab.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers have argued that he was influenced by his brother and his mother, who had become radicalized in the years before the bombings.

“We were all shocked. We were all in pain. We were very scared,” Shakhruzat Suleimanova said.

“We had never had people like that in our family. We prayed, we fasted, but no people like that.”

Prosecutors urged the judge last week to press Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers to make sure his relatives testify soon because 16 FBI agents have been assigned to guard and protect them while they are in the United States. The family members arrived in Boston on April 23.

“It’s an enormous expense and distraction for the agency, and that’s just part of the expense that the government has endured,” William Weinreb said during a sidebar discussion in court with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers and the judge, according to a transcript that was made public.


Martin Richard’s parents have called on federal authorities to drop the death penalty as a possible punishment for bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Martin William Richard, 8, was the youngest victim in the 2013Boston Marathon bombings.

Bill and Denise Richard’s son was one of three people killed in the explosions two years ago.

The Richards said an execution sentence “could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives.”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted last week.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Martin Richard’s parents made their plea in a front-page piece in the Boston Globe on April 17.

“We are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal,” they wrote.

The Richards were injured in the attack and their daughter, Jane, lost one of her legs in one of the explosions.

“The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives,” they said.

Throughout the piece, the Richards never mention Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by name, electing instead to refer to him as “the defendant”.

“I care deeply about their views and the views of the other victims and survivors,” US Attorney for Boston, Carmen Ortiz, said. She refused to go into specifics.

Families of other victims have expressed support for the death penalty.

The court will begin the penalty phase of the trial on April 21, one day after this year’s Boston Marathon.


Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings, has testified that he locked eyes with one of the bombers just before the attack.

In the second day of the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Jeff Bauman said he met the gaze of the bomber’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was not watching the race.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is on trial for the April 2013 attack and could face the death penalty.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police.

“He was alone. He wasn’t watching the race,” Jeff Bauman, who now has to use prosthetic legs, said.

“I looked at him, and he just kind of looked down at me. I just thought it was odd.”

The testimony comes on the second day of the trial of the younger brother, which opened on March 3 with the surprise admission from the defense that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev participated in the attacks.Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev Boston Marathon 2013

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with 30 counts related to the bombings, which left three dead and wounded more than 260 people.

Several other witnesses took to the stand to offer testimony on March 5.

With an artificial limb clearly visible below her skirt, Roseann Sdoia said she saw two flashes of white light and then realized she no longer had a leg.

Prosecutors showed the jury a gruesome photo of her mangled leg.

“Someone came running over to me and told me I had to get out of there. I told them I couldn’t get up. I didn’t have a leg,” Roseann Sdoia said between sobs.

Jurors also heard from one of the emergency responders who detailed efforts to save a university student’s life and the decisions that officials had to make in the aftermath of the bombing.

Boston police Officer Lauren Woods said she helped perform chest compressions on 23-year-old Boston University student Lingzi Lu, whose whole body shook and whose eyes “kept rolling in and out”.

Lingzi Lu was placed in an ambulance, but was almost immediately removed when a paramedic determined “she was gone” and chose to save the ambulance space for someone who could be helped.

The trial will be split into two parts. This first phase is to determine his guilt or innocence. If convicted, a second phase will determine the punishment, and the jury will have to decide whether he will be put to death.

The entire trial is expected to last three to four months.

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