Posts by Holly Bailey
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 19 hrs ago
BOSTON—The clock on the video said 2:49 p.m., and it was hard to imagine that anyone in the courtroom didn’t know what was coming up next. In the nearly two years since two bombs exploded near the finish line of the April 2013 Boston Marathon, footage of the two fireballs erupting along Boylston Street, one after the other, has been replayed millions of times, accompanied by gruesome photos and video of the bloody aftermath.
But as prosecutors began presenting their case against accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday with silent footage of those deadly bombs that killed three people and injured nearly 300 more, there was an edge in the air among the jurors, victims and others inside the Boston federal courtroom where the trial is taking place.
That was followed moments later by grisly, up-close video of the aftermath of the first bomb shot by Colton Kilgore, a North Carolina man who had been on hand to film his mother-in-law crossing the finish line but ended up capturing several members of his family nearly bleeding to death from wounds sustained in the explosion.
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 1 day ago
BOSTON — One is a self-employed housepainter. Another works for a local water department. There’s a mother of four who has twin boys in the eighth grade; a registered nurse who bought an RV to travel cross-country with her boyfriend this spring; and a retired actuary whose cousin was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11 but who insists she can remain impartial in the most high-profile terrorism case on U.S. soil since those deadly 2001 attacks.
They are among the 18 people — 12 jurors and six alternates — who will decide if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lives or dies for his alleged role in the dual bombings at the April 2013 Boston Marathon, which killed three people and injured nearly 300 more. After almost two months of jury selection, opening arguments in the case are set to begin Wednesday, in spite of continued efforts by Tsarnaev’s defense team to move the trial out of Boston.
Juror 487, a mother of four from Cape Cod, said she also thought Tsarnaev was guilty based on media reports about the case. But during questioning last month, she said she could remain open-minded, telling the judge, “You’re not guilty until you’re proven guilty.”
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 14 days ago
BOSTON -- The federal judge overseeing the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has found 61 of the 70 people needed for a suitable jury pool and predicted opening arguments would begin in the “near future.”
But on Thursday, Tsarnaev’s attorneys made a last-ditch effort to move the trial out of Boston, renewing their argument that it’s impossible to find a truly impartial jury in a city where so many residents were affected by the deadly 2013 attacks.
A three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit heard arguments on whether to move the high-profile trial out of Boston to a more neutral city like Washington, D.C. — a request that has already been rejected three times by the presiding district judge in the case, George O’Toole.
"Justice has to have the appearance of justice," Judith Mizner, Tsarnaev's court-appointed attorney, told the appeals court, adding there needs to be "public confidence" in the judicial system. She argued Boston-area residents have too many emotional and personal ties to the bombings to truly weigh the case against Tsarnaev fairly.
"The voir dire process is working," Weinreb said.
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 27 days ago
The disqualifications seemed obvious. Her late father, she explained, had spent more than two decades serving on the board of the Boston Athletic Association, the group that sponsors the marathon, and her brothers were still involved in the organization. One had been near the marathon’s finish line in April 2013 only minutes before two bombs were detonated, killing three and injuring nearly 300. The marathon was in her blood, and what happened that day had affected her deeply. There was no way she could be impartial, the juror said.
Besides, the middle-aged brunette added, she already believed Tsarnaev was guilty. “That’s clear,” she said, nodding ever so slightly in the direction of the accused bomber, who sat a few feet away from her at the opposite end of a long conference-room table. Tsarnaev briefly glanced at her before he sank back into his chair.
“I can’t un-forget what I already know,” she bluntly replied. “I think he’s guilty.”
He was “not a fan of his brother,” the juror said, referring to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who offered no visible reaction to the mention of his older brother, Tamerlan.
“I want to know why,” juror 345 said.
The juror paused. “Don’t you have to hear why?”
In a court filing Thursday, Tsarnaev’s attorneys said roughly the same amount of potential jurors — 69 percent — have a “self-identified connection” to the April 2013 bombings, meaning they were personally affected or knew someone who was. “Stronger support for a finding of presumed prejudice in Boston is difficult to imagine,” Timothy Watkins, one of Tsarnaev’s attorneys wrote in the filing. “The existing record precludes a fair trial in Boston.”
Based on an analysis of juror questionnaires, the defense noted that just 345 prospective jurors — or 25 percent of those summoned in the case — said they were “unsure” when asked if they had “formed an opinion” that Tsarnaev is guilty, while 66 potential jurors said “no.”
The motion came just hours after court officials announced that opening arguments in the closely watched trial would be delayed. U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole, who is presiding over the case, said earlier this month that the trial would begin next Monday. But jury selection has moved at an achingly slow pace in recent days, fueling rumors that the court would have no choice but to delay the proceedings.
Taking a seat between his attorneys at a table in the front, the 21-year-old suspect, dressed in khakis and a dark sweater, fidgeted under the microscopic gaze of the potential jury pool before him. They were fixated on the young man widely portrayed as a heartless terrorist who killed with no remorse. Drumming his fingers on his chair, his face aimed toward the ground, Tsarnaev avoided looking at anyone — save for the woman to his left, his attorney Judy Clarke, who suddenly caught his eye and gave him a gentle smile.
Tsarnaev visibly relaxed, returning her smile with a brief one of his own. And for the first time during jury selection, the accused bomber looked out toward the room of Boston-area residents who could be called upon to decide whether he lives or dies for his alleged role in the April 2013 bombings that killed three people and injured nearly 300 more.
As the potential jurors sized up Tsarnaev — many getting their first clear look at his face, which bears the scars of gunshot wounds he sustained before his arrest — Clarke, in turn, studied them, her blue eyes slowly scanning the room, gauging their reaction to her client.
That presumably includes Tsarnaev.
“We will never forget,” it reads.
Not that people here ever could. Nearly two years after the attacks, which paralyzed the city and shocked the world, many in Boston are still recovering from the bombs which killed three people and injured nearly 300, including 16 who lost limbs. Now the city is preparing to relive the gruesome horror all over again.
Jury selection began Monday for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old surviving suspect in the attacks. He is accused of plotting and carrying out the twin bombings along with his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a confrontation with police four days after the attacks. The brothers are also accused of shooting and killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer while on the run from the authorities. Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty, faces the death penalty if convicted.
Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is asking a federal judge to clamp down on “self-appointed supporters” protesting on his behalf outside a Boston courthouse, arguing that their “inflammatory accusations” could hurt his right to a fair trial.
In a court filing Monday, Tsarnaev’s defense team sought to distance themselves from the demonstrators, arguing they could have a “deleterious and prejudicial impact” on his trial, which is set to begin Jan. 5. The supporters, his attorneys wrote, “advocate various conspiracy theories concerning the marathon bombing, including that the resulting deaths and injuries have somehow been faked as part of a government plot.”
Tsarnaev’s lawyers asked federal Judge George O’Toole, who is overseeing the case, to direct the U.S. Marshals Service to move the demonstrators away from the courthouse, because their presence implies that Tsarnaev agrees with them.
“The defendant and his attorneys are powerless to protect the fairness of his trial from the destructive activities of these demonstrators, ” the accused bomber's attorneys wrote.
He wore baggy gray khakis and a black zip-up sweater, with a white button-down shirt that peeked out from underneath — an outfit that seemed to overwhelm his slight frame. He rubbed his beard and the left side of his face, and his left eye appeared to be a little droopy.
There was little in his appearance that seemed out of the ordinary. Yet with every slight move he made, people behind him sat up straight in their seats and stared at him — some tilting their heads to get a better look. Even when the action shifted to the other side of the room, they kept their eyes locked on him.
The scene that unfolded in a federal courtroom in Boston was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s first public appearance in 17 months. The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings said only five words in the final hearing before his trial begins in January, on charges that he, along with his older brother, set off two deadly bombs near the marathon finish line in April 2013.
Tsarnaev occasionally offered brief hints of a smile to his team of defense attorneys, but not once did he look at the spectators behind him, perhaps aware of the microscope he was under.