Reuters –The trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev resumes on Monday with more testimony about jihadist literature found on his laptop, cellphone and other devices after the deadly 2013 attack.
An FBI computer specialist will face cross-examination by defense attorneys, who have already admitted that the 21-year-old defendant committed all the crimes he is accused of, but they also contend he did so in an act of subservience to his older brother, not because of a personal passion.
Copies of Al Qaeda’s “Inspire” magazine found on his laptop, including one titled “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” and another document titled “The Slicing Sword,” could be central to prosecutors’ bid to establish his motive and convince the jury he deserves a death sentence.
FBI Special Agent Kevin Swindon will be the first witness to speak on Monday, the 11th day of Tsarnaev’s trial in U.S. district court in Boston.
Tsarnaev is accused of killing three people and injuring 264 with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race’s crowded finish line on April 15, 2013, and with fatally shooting a police officer three days later as he and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, tried to flee the city.
Tamerlan died after a gunfight with police later that night and Dzhokhar was arrested after a homeowner in the suburb of Watertown found him hiding in a boat in his backyard.
He left a note in that boat suggesting that the attacks were an act of retribution for U.S. military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries and that he viewed his brother as a martyr.
Defense attorneys are focusing their efforts not on proving Tsarnaev’s innocence but on trying to spare his life by persuading the jury that Tamerlan bore the brunt of the blame. While they opened the trial by admitting Tsarnaev’s role, he has maintained his not guilty plea, leaving prosecutors to first convince the jury of his guilt before moving on to the question of whether he should be sentenced to death or to life in prison without possibility of parole.
The bombing killed restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29, graduate student Lingzi Lu, 23, and 8-year-old Martin Richard. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 27, was shot dead three days later.