The humanity of victims caring for each other in the middle of the bombing mayhem contrasted with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s complete disregard and seeming lack of compassion as he just sat there. The last witness to testify yesterday as the government concluded its death penalty case was Steven Woolfenden. Steve was in front of the Forum restaurant with his son Leo in a stroller when the second bomb went off. They were right next to the Richard family as they tried to move away from the first bomb blast. Tsarnaev brushed past Woolfenden after he dropped his bomb and hurried away.
After the blast, Woolfenden, his leg blown off and his son taken to an ambulance, saw Denise Richard bent over her dying son Martin’s eviscerated body. He put a hand on her shoulder. She turned and asked him if he was okay.
More heartbreaking testimony today, from the family of MIT officer Sean Collier and Lingzi Lu’s aunt. The jury also heard from two more victims who suffered serious injuries. One, a ballroom dancer who lost a leg, glared at Tsarnaev as she left the witness stand.
The government also introduced into evidence the video still of Tsarnaev flipping the bird that was shown to the jury during opening statement. That led to the defense getting in the entire video of Tsarnaev in the courthouse holding cell. It shows the defendant primping his hair and mugging for the camera as he first flashes two fingers in a Vee and then the now infamous single digit.
I remember thinking that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared very cocky at his arraignment back in July, 2013. Well, that impression was confirmed today when the prosecution in its opening displayed a photo of Tsarnaev giving the finger to the camera in his holding cell at the courthouse the day of his arraignment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini displayed the photo of Tsarnaev along side smiling photos of his five dead victims. “This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” she told the jury, “unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged. Without remorse, he remains untouched by the grief and the loss he caused.”
The testimony today was painful and heartbreaking. Here are some sketches of the witnesses.
I think it took close to thirty minutes for the court clerk to read all 99 answers on the thirty count verdict form. Enough time for two sketches, though done from a low resolution video monitor in the overflow courtroom since seating in the actual courtroom would have provided only a view of Tsarnaev from the back. Very frustrating.Tsarnaev showed no emotion as the verdict was read. Most of the time he looked down at some papers, occasionally he shifted awkwardly bringing a hand up to his face or slipping it in his pocket for an instant. He has a strange way of movement, especially when he comes into the courtroom, swinging his shoulders up and down, side to side. I guess you’d say he was strutting.
We only see Tsarnaev from the back when seated in the courtroom, so I did these sketches from the video monitors in the overflow room.
I’ll probably do this same thing when the verdict is announced in order to capture his reaction, or lack of it.