Jurors will hear more testimony today in the trial of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, a day after a dramatic admission of guilt and often-heartbreaking accounts from victims and survivors of the deadly 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded 260 others.
The trial began Wednesday with the admission of Tsarnaev’s guilt by his defense attorney. NPR’s Tovia Smith, who is covering the trial, told All Things Considered that was not surprising.
“The evidence in this case was so overwhelming — basically irrefutable — that many believe the defense had no choice,” she said Wednesday.
(Tovia is tweeting live from today’s proceedings (we’ll embed her timeline at the bottom of this story). NPR member station WBUR is covering today’s proceedings live on Twitter. You can follow that here.)
Tsarnaev faces 30 counts – most of which carry the death penalty. But his lawyer, while acknowledging Tsarnaev’s guilt, says he was not the mastermind of the attack; she portrayed him as a young man who idolized and was intimidated by his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in the aftermath of the attack.
Victims of the attack shared their stories. Many lost limbs in the attack; others lost family members.
Sydney Corcoran, who was 17 at the time of the April 15 bombing, told the jury she had gone to watch her aunt run the Boston Marathon for the first time. She was watching the race one minute and was immersed in smoke the next, she said. She passed out and when she came to found men tying tourniquets to her thigh. She had suffered a severed femoral artery and nearly bled to death.
“I was getting increasingly cold and I knew I was dying,” she said.
Later, awake in a hospital she saw her father and wrote him a note: Was her mother alive.
“Once he looked at what I’d written he started to cry,” she said.
“She’s OK,” her father said, according to her, “but her legs are gone.”
Another woman, Karen Rand McWatters, whose left leg was amputated after the bombing, described how she watched her friend, Krystle Campbell, die next to her.
“She very slowly said that her legs hurt, and we held hands, and shortly after that, her hand went limp in mine and she never spoke again after that,” she recalled.
NPR’s Smith says no emotion could be seen from Tsarnaev.
Federal prosecutors, using their opening statements and graphic videos, painted him as a killer.
He planted a bomb to “tear people apart and create a bloody spectacle,” prosecutor William Weinreb said, and then hung out with his college buddies.