(BOSTON) — The start of the trial was about the crime. By the end of this week, federal prosecutors had established a timeline of incredible events that led to alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture.
Prosecutors said authorities confronted Tsarnaev and his brother. That confrontation was followed by an eight-minute battle with police. Quiet, leafy Laurel Street in Watertown, Massachusetts, was left scarred by explosives.
“They’re throwing bombs at us. We need the bomb squad,” a Massachusetts state trooper recalled hearing over the radio before he heard “some type of explosive and saw smoke in the street lamps.”
A bomb made from the same kind of pressure cooker used at the marathon became embedded in the door of someone’s car. The lid landed in a kid’s hockey goal. Shrapnel was found up to a block away, authorities said.
The jury saw two undetonated pipe bombs that had been “full” of explosive powder and “lined with BBs.” A trooper called them improvised grenades.
A policeman testified that Tsarnaev tossed them over his head like a hook shot. His brother threw them like a baseball. James Floyd, who lived on the street, saw “a fuse being lit” and “two individuals firing.”
When Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s gun either emptied or jammed, he threw it at Sgt Jeff Pugliese. As he and other officers tried to handcuff the older brother, an eyewitness recalled “an engine roar.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev then took the wheel of a stolen SUV and “floored it,” the witness said. There was “a thud” and Tamerlan Tsarnaev was dragged 25 feet.
His blood that had pooled in the street was evident in a photograph. The younger brother got away, but he didn’t get far.
Watertown, Boston and surrounding communities shut down during the manhunt. It kept David Henneberry indoors. He had wanted to check on his boat in the backyard after he noticed the shrink wrap had come loose. He said he ventured out when the restrictions lifted and noticed blood.
“Not a lot, but enough” he said.
Then he saw the motionless figure lying on the deck. Jurors were brought to a secret location near the courthouse this week to view the boat. A forklift elevated them two by two so they could peer inside. All the bullet holes were apparent. They strained to see Tsarnaev’s writing, which has faded. So have the streaks of blood that obscure the words.
Tsarnaev carved part of his note into wooden slats: “Stop killing our innocent civilians,” the jagged words read, “and we will stop.”
When Stephan Silva saw images of the friend he met in the eighth grade, he posted on Facebook “must have been his brother that got him into it.”
That statement gave the defense an opening. Silva recalled Tsarnaev telling him, “You don’t want to meet my brother. He said his brother was very strict, very opinionated” and wouldn’t have approved of Silva because he wasn’t Muslim.
It may have bolstered the defense argument Tsarnaev merely followed a trail blazed by his self-radicalized older brother, but Silva also testified Tsarnaev sought out a gun two months before the marathon attack and “kept coming up with excuses” for refusing to give it back.
But prosecutors tried to undercut the defense by showing jurors what the FBI found on Tsarnaev’s laptop, desktop, thumb drives and iPods. They highlighted audio clips from radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and issues of al Qaeda’s online magazine Inspire.
The defense will argue there’s no proof Dzhokhar Tsarnaev downloaded those things when testimony resumes next week.
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