Boston Marathon bombing trial to focus on suspect's arrest

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2015 7:03 AM

BOSTON (Reuters) - The trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Tuesday was expected to focus on the suspect's arrest following a daylong lockdown of much of the metropolitan area following the attack that killed three people and injured 264.

Tsarnaev, 21, could be sentenced to death if he is convicted of charges that also include the fatal shooting of a police officer three days after prosecutors contend he and his older brother carried out the April 15, 2013, attack.

Defense lawyers opened the trial with the blunt admission that their client had carried out the crimes he is charged with, focusing their hopes on the jury sentencing him to life in prison rather than death.

They contend that 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the driving force behind the attacks, and that his younger sibling followed along out of a sense of subservience.

In its first seven days of testimony, the trial at U.S. District Court in Boston has moved along at a blistering pace, with prosecutors working their way trough 58 witnesses and defense attorneys declining to cross-examine most who testified.

When prosecutors wrap their case, it will be the defense's turn to call witnesses of its own, which could include Tsarnaev. After that, the jury will consider Tsarnaev's guilt and if he is found guilty, a second phase of the trial will play out that will focus on sentencing.

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The bombing killed restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, and graduate student Lingzi Lu, 23, as well as 8-year-old Martin Richard. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 27, was shot dead three days later.

(Reporting by Scott Malone)