A Boston Marathon runner shows off her medal in front of a makeshift memorial for Boston Marathon bombing victims near the site on Boylston Street in Boston. The trial of accused bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev started Wednesday. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI. | License Photo
BOSTON, March 4 (UPI) -- As Boston Marathon bombing victims and family members packed a courthouse Wednesday morning, prosecutors opened the trial saying accused bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev was out for blood the day he and his brother planted two bombs at the race finish line.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said the pressure-cooker bomb Tsarnaev carried in his backpack is a favorite of terrorists "because it's designed to tear people apart and create a bloody spectacle."
"He believed that he was a soldier in a holy war against Americans," Weinreb said. "He also believed that by winning that victory, he had taken a step toward reaching paradise. That was his motive for committing these crimes."
Tsarnaev faces 30 different counts stemming from the April 15, 2013 bombing that left three people dead and some 260 injured. Prosecutors say Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time, and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were responsible for the bombing.Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges.Tamerlan, 26, died in a shootout with police.
Tsarnaev, 21, slouched in his seat as dozens of victims took over the left side of the courtroom. Some fought back tears as Weinreb detailed the day of the bombing.
Tsarnaev's attorney fought until the last minute to have the trial venue changed, arguing it is impossible for him to get an impartial jury and fair trial in Massachusetts. Before the start of the trial, the fourth request was rejected by Judge George O'Toole Jr.
While it is not completely clear what tact Tsarnaev attorneys will take in his defense, court documents show Tsarnaev may be portrayed as controlled by his older brother. The defense could work in Tsarnaev's favor if he is convicted, possibly swaying jurors away from the death penalty.
The trial is expected to last four months, with some 600 law-enforcement personnel and 142 civilians on the potential witness list.