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LIVE COVERAGE: Boston bombing witness breaks down on stand

Metro is reporting live from the courtroom. Stay with Metro.us as this historic terror trial unfolds.

The Boston Marathon bombing survivors want justice. The city wants solace, and the nation wants answers. Today, just a month shy of the bombing's two-year anniversary, the man accused of carrying out the worst terror attack on US soil since September 11, 2001 will begin to answer for his alleged crimes.

Opening statements in the Boston bombing trial were slated to begin Wednesday morning in Moakley Federal Court in Boston. Terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, faces death if convicted of the fatal attack which took the lives of two young women and an 8-year-old boy on April 15, 2013. More than 260 others were injured - 17 survivors lost limbs - and a city was left traumatized.

Jury selection in the notorious trial began on January 5. On Tuesday, after several delays due to snow storms and difficulty finding impartial jurors, a jury was seated.

Metro is reporting live from the courtroom. Stay with Metro.us as this historic terror trial unfolds.

UPDATE: 11:45 A.M.

Survivors and family members of loved ones lost in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing for the first time heard the closest thing to an explanation about why terror suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his late brother Tamerlan detonated two bombs at the Boylston Street finish line, shattering their lives and devastating the city they knew and loved.

Attorneys in the Boston bombing trial delivered opening statements in the high-profile terror trial Wednesday morning at Moakley Federal Courthouse. Tsarnaev, 21, is on trial for his life for carrying out the deadly attack. His victims sat behind him in a silent but packed courtroom.

Tsarnaev appeared relaxed; the only indication of his unease visible in occasional fidgeting. He wore a white shirt and blazer, and sat slouched at his defense table before a jury of 8 men and 10 women entered the court around 9:30 a.m.

Defense Attorney Judy Clarke responded to the prosecution’s hour-long outline of the events of the events that rocked Boston and from April 15 through April 19, 2013, by admitting her client had indeed been the man to drop a bomb in front of Forum Restaurant on Boylston Street.

"It was him," said Clarke. "So you might say, why a trial?"

Clarke argued that Tamerlan was the mastermind of the terror spree, and Dzhokhar was merely dragged into his older brother’s Tamerlan's obsession with radical Islam, but bore no hatred towards his fellow Bostonians.

Prosecutors painted a picture of a radical Islam-obsessed teenager who lived a double life as a college student at UMass Dartmouth by day and a fan of terrorist teachings by night. They tried to invoke disgust and sympathy in the jury by relaying grim, graphic details of the deaths of Tsarnaev's four victims, and by showing smiling photographs of them in happy times.

"We do not and will not at any point in this case side step Dzhokhar's responsibility for his actions. We think the question of why is important, and this is where we disagree [with the government]. We have different answers to this question," said Clarke.

UPDATE: 2:30 P.M.

Testimony in the terror trial of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took a dramatic turn Wednesday when the prosecution's second witness broke down in tears while testifying about the day of the deadly 2013 marathon bombing.

The testimony came after an attorney for Tsarnaev, 21, admitted that, indeed, "it was him" who was caught on surveillance camera dropping a homemade pressure cooker bomb near the Boylston Street finish line.

Shane O'Hara, 44, of Raynham was managing Marathon Sports, an athletic apparel store on Boylston Street, when the twin blasts rang out on April 15, 2013.

O'Hara stifled tears through much of his testimony, but broke down when he revealed that the memory of the blast still haunts him.

"The first thing I remember is the sound, and turning and seeing the instant cloud of dust. It reminded me of as a kid playing with firecrackers. Like a big canon sound. Smoke completely engulfed the whole window," O’Hara said.

Prosecutors showed video of the blasts as seen from inside and outside of Marathon Sports. O'Hara was seen in the video making a tourniquet for an injured woman.

"The thing that haunts me was making the decision about who needed help first. Who was more injured than the other. It was like scenes from Saving Private Ryan or Platoon; from movies I never thought I'd see in real life," said O'Hara.

Prior to O'Hara's testimony, Boston Athletic Association Executive Director Thomas Grilk testified about the history and local significance of the marathon and answered questions about the layout of the finish line.

Grilk said as many as half a million people attend the annual marathon as spectators.

Testimony was expected to resume Wednesday afternoon.

 

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