Tsarnaev Penalty Phase: Day Two

Boston. Apr.21, 2015. Members of the Tsarnaev defense team arrive at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse on the first day of the sentencing phase as they walk past protestors who oppose death penalty. Tsarnaev, who was found guilty by the jury of all 30 charges against him, will either serve a life in prison without the possibility of a release or receive a death sentence. (Photo by: Haiyun Jiang/BU News Service)
Boston. Apr.21, 2015. Members of the Tsarnaev defense team arrive at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse on the first day of the sentencing phase in the trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Photo by: Haiyun Jiang/BU News Service)

By Haiyun Jiang
BU News Service

In the second day of the penalty phase in the trial of convicted marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the jury heard emotional testimony on Wednesday from the family of Officer Sean Collier, the MIT patrol officer killed by Tsarnaev during the manhunt that followed the April 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Andrew Collier, 27, Sean Collier’s younger brother, provided heartbreaking testimony of Sean’s character. “He always chose to do the right thing,” said Collier. “I miss everything about him.”

John DiFava, chief of police at MIT, testified that when he recruited Sean Collier, he was one of the best officers at MIT and was actively engaged in the MIT community.

“It’s not the uniform, not the badge, it’s the character that he possessed,” said Difava. “I lost one of my own.”

The prosecutor also called survivors Eric Whalley and Adrian Haslet-Davis, who described the bombing scene and the injuries they sustained as a result of the attacks. Haslet-Davis, a former ballroom dancer who lost a leg in the bombing, sobbed through her testimony, and after she finished, stared Tsarnaev down for a few moments until the court officer approached to guide her away.

During Wednesday’s testimony, the prosecution showed video footage of Tsarnaev making an obscene gesture at a surveillance camera while in a courthouse cell on July 10, 2013, three months after he was arrested for the attack.

Gary Oliveira, deputy U.S. Marshal, testified that he monitored surveillance cameras in Tsarnaev’s cell while he was in custody. He said he watched as Tsarnaev fixed his hair before making a “V” sign with his fingers, then raised his middle finger at the camera. While defense attorney Miriam Conrad tried to downplay the “V” gesture, Judge George O’Toole ordered her not to describe the footage, which he said spoke for itself.
The trial will resume on Thursday morning with ongoing testimony from witnesses and survivors of the attacks.

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