Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rested their case in his federal death penalty trial Tuesday, a day after they began presenting testimony designed to show his late older brother was the mastermind behind the 2013 terror attack.
Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line April 15, 2013.
The defense admitted during opening statements that Tsarnaev participated in the bombings. But Tsarnaev’s lawyer said he was a troubled 19-year-old who had fallen under the influence of his radicalized 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan. The older brother died following a shootout with police days after the bombings.
Prosecutors and Tsarnaev’s lawyers will give closing arguments Monday, April 6. The jury is expected to begin deliberations the same day.
The defense has made clear from the beginning of the trial that its strategy is not to win an acquittal for Tsarnaev, now 21, but to save him from the death penalty.
During its brief case, the defense called four witnesses — including a cell site analyst who showed that Tsarnaev was at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth when Tamerlan purchased components of the two bombs used in the 2013 attack.
On Tuesday, FBI fingerprint examiner Elaina Graff testified that Dzhokhar’s fingerprints weren’t found on any of the marathon bomb components, but Tamerlan’s were.
She said Tamerlan’s prints were detected on two pieces of cardboard that came from one of the bombs used at the marathon and on a piece of paper found inside a backpack used to carry a bomb.
Prints belonging to both brothers were found on another bomb recovered from the scene of a gun battle with police days after the marathon attack, Graff said. That bomb, which was not detonated, consisted of explosive powder and fuses packed inside a plastic container with a fuse protruding from the lid.
“Due to the extreme temperature and force in an explosion, it is not unusual to not find fingerprints on items,” Graff said while being cross-examined by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb.
Also testifying for the defense Tuesday was a computer expert who said Tamerlan Tsarnaev did Internet searches on bomb components in the weeks before the attack.
Tsarnaev’s lawyer also told jurors in opening statements that it was Tamerlan who shot and killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier three days after the bombings.
Prosecutors rested their case Monday after calling more than 90 witnesses over 15 days of testimony, including bombing survivors who described losing limbs in the attack.
Report by The Associated Press