Witnesses testify in Boston Marathon bombing trial | News | DW | 05.03.2015
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Witnesses testify in Boston Marathon bombing trial

A court heard more testimony from witnesses of the Boston Marathon bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could face life in prison or the death penalty, as his defense has admitted his participation but not his guilt.

Witnesses testified on Thursday in the trial of 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of setting off homemade pressure cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, which killed three people and injured over 260 others.

US District Judge George O'Toole Jr. and the jury heard testimony from witnesses and survivors of the bomb attacks in day two of the trial.

Officer Frank Chiola was the first witness to speak on Thursday and he described the death of 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, to whom he had administered CPR to no avail.

One of the witnesses, Jeff Bauman, told the court how he had seen one of the suspects just before the bombs went off. "He just looked very suspicious. He didn't look like anybody that was there. He wasn't having fun, he wasn't watching the race." Bauman lost both his legs in an explosion.

"The last thing I did see was Martin Richard on the sidewalk, there were two people trying to revive him still, but I could see his eyes clearly and I didn't think he was alive," said Alan Hern, a high school football coach, who saw the youngest of the victims, an eight-year-old boy, killed that day.

Day 1

In opening statements on Wednesday, Tsarnaev's lawyer Judy Clarke said her client had indeed carried out the bomb attacks, but she did not withdraw his plea of not guilty. His defense will try to prove that he had been under the influence of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his 26-year-old brother, whom he ended up running over and killing three days after the attacks. The defense had claimed the deceased elder brother had been the mastermind of the bombings, and is thus seeking a life sentence for the defendant.

Prosecutors told O'Toole they may want to show as evidence autopsy photos of the attack victims on Wednesday, including the eight-year-old Martin Richard.

They also want to play clips from an FBI news conference where officials released photos of Tsarnaev and his older brother identifying them as suspects and setting off a course of events that led to a day-long lockdown of most of the Boston area amid a massive manhunt.

A jury of 10 women and eight men were chosen on Tuesday to hear the case. The trial will be split into two phases - one phase to decide guilt and the other to decide punishment. If Tsarnaev is convicted, the jury will decide whether he will be sentenced to life in prison or execution.

The trial is expected to last three to four months.

It is expected to be one of the most watched American trials since Timothy McVeigh was convicted and later executed for the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people in 1995.

sb/sms (Reuters, AP)

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