Mother weeps at details of son’s injuries

‘He lost so much blood that he had virtually none left by the time he was brought to the morgue’

 

Denise Richard sobbed in court as the prosecutor graphically described the horrific injuries inflicted on her eight-year-old son Martin by a bomb blast near the Boston Marathon finish line in 2013.

“The defendant blew large holes in the chest of Martin, blew his arm nearly off his body,” William Weinreb told the jury in the opening statement at the start of the trial of accused Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (21). “He lost so much blood that he had virtually none left by the time he was brought to the morgue.”

Blinded

“Martin bled to death on the sidewalk as she looked helplessly on,” said the attorney, who described in dramatic detail the scene of carnage after the attack on “Marathon Monday”, April 15th, 2013.

The court heard how Tsarnaev slipped a backpack off his shoulder outside the busy Forum Restaurant on Boylston Street and placed it behind a row of children watching runners pass the final stretch of the race. He walked away, remotely detonating the bomb in his bag seconds after his older brother Tamerlan exploded a similar device few hundred yards down the street.

Silence descended on the courtroom, except for some deep intakes of breath from a witness, when video footage of the blasts were shown.

There was further silence when security camera footage was played from inside the Marathon Sports shop, the scene of the first bomb, as the blast occurred.

“It was a scene from like Saving Private Ryan or Platoon or from one of the movies that I would never have thought I would see in real life,” said the shop’s manager Shane O’Hara, the trial’s second witness, in emotional testimony.

As O’Hara pulled clothing from hangers for the wounded, he smelt burnt hair and heard the words: “Stay with me, stay with me.”

Twenty minutes after the blasts, while paramedics tended to the wounded, Tsarnaev was recorded on supermarket surveillance video buying a gallon of milk, Weinreb told the court.

Security was tight at the John Joseph Coakley US Courthouse in Boston’s Seaport District for the start of this much-anticipated trial.

Outside Courtroom Nine, an artificial leg below the dress of elegantly dressed Rebecca Gregory of Houston, Texas, was the only giveaway of the hideous injuries caused by what the Tsarnaevs saw as acts of jihad. More than 260 people were injured with at least 17 victims losing limbs.

“The defendant’s goal that day was to maim and kill as many victims as possible,” Weinreb told the jury.

Soldier

Tsarnaev’s involvement in the attack isn’t in question. His lawyer, Judy Clarke, acknowledged that he was involved in the “horribly misguided acts carried out by two brothers”, but sought to mitigate his role, saying that he was influenced by a self-radicalised older brother.

Unusually in an opening statement, district court judge George O’Toole interjected, saying that there was “very little evidence of that”.

Wearing a dark suit and open-collared shirt, a scruffy-haired Tsarnaev, with a dark chin-strap beard, pulled at his fingers and tapped on a table. He fidgeted like a student waiting for a long class to end.

Despite the early admissions of Tsarnaev’s involvement, this won’t be a short trial. The political motives of the brothers are likely to be explored in detail.

For survivors watching, it will be painfully long.