BOSTON — Almost two years after twin bombings rocked the Boston Marathon, this city and the nation, the trial of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev opened Wednesday with his lawyer admitting “It was him.”
Defense lawyer Judy Clarke pleaded with a federal jury to approach the case with an open mind — and suggested Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, was the mastermind of the April 2013 attack that killed three people and injured more than 260.
The trial began with opening statements from both sides in a courtroom packed with victims, family members, media and members of the public. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb went first, quickly describing a gory scene of carnage, perpetrated by a cowardly bomber who targeted a group of children when twin blasts rocked a crowded street near the finish line.
“The defendant’s goal that day was to maim and kill as many victims as possible,” Weinreb said. “He believed that he was a soldier in a holy war against Americans. He believed he had taken a step toward reaching paradise. That was his motive for committing these crimes.”
Weinreb added that Tsarnaev, 21, “believed the United States government is the enemy of Muslim people.”
Tsarnaev faces 30 charges in connection with blasts. He is also charged in the killing of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer days after the bombings.