By Gabrielle Beacken
With over 1,300 prospective jurors in January, a jury of eight men and 10 women were selected on Tuesday, March 3, to serve as the jury for the trial against accused Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The next day, Wednesday, March 4, the trial of Tsarnaev, who is accused of killing three people and injuring more than 260 people at the 2013 Boston Marathon, began in Boston federal courts.
The trial was delayed by approximately two months because of prolonged evidence examination, change of venue requests (ultimately denied by the defense team), snow blizzards hitting Boston and 256 individual jury interviews, according to the New York Times and CNN. Pleading not guilty, Tsarnaev faces 30 federal charges, including 17 charges that carry the death penalty.
Well-known San Diego capital punishment attorney, Judy Clarke, leads the defense team. Clarke, known for “keeping clients off death row,” has successfully defended “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, gunman Jared Loughner, who wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 1996 Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, according to CNN.
One of the counts against Tsarnaev includes the murder of Officer Sean Collier of the M.I.T. Police Department, according to a Times article. The authorities concluded that the gun used by Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was the same gun that Dzhokar used to the officer.
However, the defense team claims that it was Dzhokhar’s older brother who killed the police officer. Clarke and the rest of the defense team are arguing that although Dzhokhar “was involved in the crimes,” he was “cajoled” by his older brother and should not bear the burden of an execution, according to the Times.
Dun Meng, the Tsarnaev brothers’ hostage after the bombing, detailed his account to the jury on Thursday, March 12. After Meng was carjacked and kidnapped, Tamerlan told him that he “just killed a policeman in Cambridge,” according to the Times. Terrified, Meng took advantage of an opportunity to escape the brothers and inform the police of the GPS tracking device in his Mercedes, according to the Times.
On Monday, March 16, the jurors then heard the account of on-the-scene police officers. In these accounts, it was revealed that during the eight to 10-minute shootout between Tamerlan and the police in Watertown, Mass., Dzhokhar drove his car, aiming for the police, and drove over his brother, according to the Times.
“An attempt to kill them would undercut the narrative that the defense is trying to establish,” a Times article said.
Before crashing into a police cruiser, Dzhokhar’s car dragged his brother 20 to 30 feet, according to the Times.
On Monday, March 16, jurors were taken to a classified location in Boston, where jurors were able to see the boat Dzhokhar was hiding in when the police captured him, theTimes reported. The inside of the boat includes a message, written by the younger Tsarnaev brother, explaining the justification for the bombing.
Due to the boat being “riddled” with more than a hundred bullet holes, certain words of the message are illegible, according to the Times.
The owner of the boat is to testify Tuesday, March 24.