Two Sides Paint Different Pictures in Tsarnaev Trial Closing Arguments

Prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty points to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during closing arguments in the Boston Marathon Bombings trial in Massachusetts on 4/6/15.
Prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty points to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during closing arguments. (Art Lien via CNN Newswire)

By Meggie Quackenbush
BU News Service

After four weeks of graphic testimony from nearly 100 witnesses of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, attorneys from both sides of the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev delivered their closing arguments today.

“The defendant brought terror to backyards and main streets,” argued attorney Aloke Chakravarty for the prosecution.

“He wanted to terrorize this country. He wanted to punish America for what it was doing to his people,” he said.

Chakravarty emphasized the tragic impact the bombing had on its victims and showed graphic photos and videos of the injured from the day of the attack. He argued that the Tsarnaev brothers acted in partnerships, seeking to undermine the defense’s stance that Dzhokhar was pressured into participating in the attacks by his older brother.

“They were a team,” Chavravarty said. “They were in this together.”

But the defense argued, and has argued throughout much of this trial, that the evidence shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the true mastermind behind the attacks. “They are both individual people who thought differently, acted differently, and had very different roles,” said defense attorney Judy Clarke.

Clarke hammered out for the jury her point that Tamerlan Tsarnaev actively prepared for the attacks by purchasing the bomb-making materials: transmitters, backpacks, pressure cookers and the BBs to load it with. She said Tsarnaev was just a “kid” who spent more time on Facebook than he did with jihadist materials in the months leading up to the attacks.

“We need to understand who was leading and who was following,” she said.

Tsarnaev faces 30 criminal charges, 17 of which carry the death sentence if he is convicted.  As explained at length by Judge George O’Toole at the start of today’s proceedings, the jury must find Tsarnaev guilty of each charge, some of which include multiple elements of conspiracy and criminal offenses, unanimously. Jury deliberations are set to begin tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

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