Posts by Holly Bailey
Separated by 2 decades, the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings are linked by an enduring mysteryHolly Bailey at Yahoo News 2 days ago
Peeking out the window that Wednesday morning, the sky was cloudless and a vivid blue. These are the incongruous details you always seem to remember when something terrible happens. On the television, the local CBS affiliate suddenly broke into programming with a shot from the station’s helicopter as it flew toward downtown Oklahoma City, 10 miles away from where I lived. “There’s been some kind of explosion,” the anchor announced, as the screen showed a thick plume of black smoke rising from the skyline. As the helicopter got closer, the smoke engulfed a single building, as if it were simply a bad fire. But then the aircraft banked and circled around, cutting through the smoke, and suddenly you could see it: The entire facade of a nine-story building had been blown off.
It was the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a glass and concrete structure that, truth be told, I had never even noticed before, and half of it was gone, ripped apart by what investigators later discovered was a 7,000-pound bomb made of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, diesel fuel and other explosives packed into a Ryder truck.
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 12 days ago
BOSTON—Nearly two years after two pressure-cooker bombs ripped through a crowd of unsuspecting spectators near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, a federal jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts for his role in the deadly attacks, which killed three and injured nearly 300.
"We unanimously find the defendent Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev guilty," the court clerk said, again and again.
Tsarnaev, 21, offered no visible reaction to the charges, which were announced in a courtroom packed full of victims and survivors.
The decision came a day and a half after seven women and five men began deliberations in the first phase of the trial and after 17 days of emotional and often gruesome testimony and evidence in the case. Jurors repeatedly saw horrific photos and videos of the bloody aftermath of the bombs. They also heard heart-wrenching testimony from survivors, including the father of the youngest victim of the attacks—8-year-old Martin Richard--whose body was literally blown apart by the second bomb.
Holly Bailey at Yahoo News 28 days ago
A majority of Boston residents believe Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should not receive the death penalty for his admitted role in the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, according to a new poll released Monday.
The survey conducted for WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, found that most Boston residents polled — 62 percent — said Tsarnaev should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Twenty-seven percent said he should receive the death penalty.
The poll comes as the prosecution is expected to wrap up its case within days in the first phase of Tsarnaev’s federal death penalty trial in Boston. A jury will first decide whether Tsarnaev is guilty before moving on to the penalty phase of the trial, when they will determine whether he lives or dies for his role in the April 2013 bombings, which killed three and injured nearly 300.
But the WBUR poll is the first conducted since Judy Clarke, Tsarnaev’s attorney, admitted her client’s role in the bombings. “It was him,” Clarke said in her opening statement earlier this month.
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was indicted on local charges related to the shooting death of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier three days after the April 2013 attacks.
The charges, which had been long expected, came a day after forensics experts testified in Tsarnaev’s federal trial they had identified Collier’s blood on a pair of white golf gloves found in the driver’s seat floorboard of a Honda Accord that belonged to the confessed bomber. The car was found abandoned on a street in Watertown, Mass., after a shootout between the Tsarnaev brothers and police four days after the bombings.
In astatement Thursday, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan announced a local grand jury had indicted Tsarnaev for Collier’s murder. She said her office would “move forward with criminal charges … after the current federal trial is completed.”
That means the jury could weigh in on Tsarnaev’s guilt sometime next month before moving on to decide whether Tsarnaev lives or dies for his role in the bombings.
The trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev continues Thursday. Testimony focused on the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was shot and killed at close range as the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly tried to steal his gun hours after their pictures were broadcast as suspects in the marathon bombings. Collier was shot six times, including three times in the head.
Some jurors gasped and teared up as they viewed gruesome autopsy photos of the gunshot wounds to Collier's head. The head wounds caused "direct destruction of the brain," Renee Robinson, the Boston medical examiner who performed the autopsy, testified. "His heart stopped... He inhaled his own blood."
"Every time i recall this, I think it is the most terrifying moment, the most difficult decision in my life," Meng said as he took the stand, giving jurors a harrowing account of his dealings with the Tsarnaev brothers that night.
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.
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.”
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.
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.