A federal jury in Boston found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty of all 30 counts against him on Wednesday.
Tsarnaev on camera during the Boston Bombing
18 of the counts from the bombing on April 15, 2013, could result in the death penalty. The charges ranged from Conspiracy to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction to Use of a WMD, and included aiding and abetting, possession and use of a firearm resulting in death, as well as other charges such as carjacking. The trial now moves to the punishment phase, where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
It took the jury just 11 1/2 hours of deliberations to come to the guilty verdict. After the jury sat through 96 witnesses over 15 court days, it is a wonder that the trial lasted as short a time as it did.
Part of that is due to the defense, who only called 4 witnesses, and admitted Mr. Tsarnaev was guilty. They attempted to paint him as just following his brother Tamerlan’s lead. They have chosen to focus their efforts on the penalty phase in an attempt to save his life. But pictures of him planting the pressure cooker bomb, and the day after day images and testimony of bombing victims played a part in the verdict.
The jury had to watch and listen to graphic scenes
Jurors saw graphic scenes of a street awash in blood and severed limbs and the dazed, traumatized expressions on people’s faces. They heard screams and moans. It looked like a war zone, several witnesses said.
Other witnesses described how deafening and disorienting it was to have a bomb go off nearby. Some survivors said they could see people screaming but could not hear them. They felt like they were underwater as the surreal events unfolded around them. Several said they felt nauseated by the “vile” stench of gunpowder and burning hair and flesh.
The jury heard a young woman, now in college, describe how it felt to nearly die; Sydney Corcoran said she felt cold, but peaceful as the blood drained from her body.
As they viewed a video shot by spectator Colton Kilgore, jurors could hear the cries of a 5-year-old boy. They saw his mother’s bones protruding from her leg and shredded hand as she reached for him. Others in the background were scrambling to apply tourniquets.
“My bones were laying next to me on the sidewalk,” said Rebekah Gregory. “That’s the day I thought I was going to die.”
They heard the urgent voices of spectators suddenly turned into first responders. Tourniquets were quickly fashioned from belts and running clothes brought by the armload from Marathon Sports, a store near the first bomb site along Boylston Street.
Prosecutors relentlessly revealed Tsarnaev as a jihadist, bent on avenging “injustices against Muslims.” He was shown as wanting to “punish America” by al-Qaeda materials in the apartment he shared with his brother.
CNN analyst Paul Callan stated,
…No. 1, he (Tsarnaev) is almost functioning as an officer of a military organization attacking the United States — the claim of course that he’s an Islamic radical and that this is almost an army-like attack on civilians.
“And the second thing — it was so well planned and so callously planned so that civilians would die, so that children would be maimed. ..
The death and life-changing chaos of the Boston bombings will never be forgotten by those who touched the evil perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers on that fateful day. Tamerlan Tsarnaev has met his punishment. It will be up to the jury to decide that of Dzhokhar.