William Richard could see his young son fading before him, dying on the sidewalk at the Boston Marathon finish line. At that moment he made the painstaking decision to tend to his other two children, including his youngest, who had lost the lower part of her left leg in the second of two explosions that day nearly two years ago.
In video footage played publicly for the first time, Richard could be seen struggling to pick up his youngest child, Jane.
“When I saw Martin, I knew he wasn’t going to make it. . . . I needed to go to the ambulance, with Jane and Henry,” Richard told a federal jury on Thursday.
“I saw my son alive, barely, for the last time,” he testified, in a restrained voice. “I saw a little boy, who had been severely damaged by an explosion, and I just knew, from what I saw, there was no chance.”
Several courtroom spectators cried. At least one juror wiped tears from her eyes.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose lawyer acknowledged this week that he set off the second bomb that day outside the Forum restaurant, looked straight ahead, away from the witness stand where Richard sat, toward video monitors displaying images of his carnage.
His lawyers hope to use his trial to portray Tsarnaev as a reluctant participant in the bombings who should be spared the death penalty. But prosecutors have called him an equal player with his older brother Tamerlan to set off the bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260.