“It was him,” Judy Clarke, proclaimed in her opening statement. “The evidence will not establish and we will not argue that Tamerlan put a gun to Dzhokhar’s head or that he forced him to join in the plan, but you will hear evidence about the kind of influence that this older brother had.”
Clarke’s strategy is to save Tsarnaev from the death penalty by showcasing his older brother Tamerlan as the true mastermind of the 2013 terror attack.
One of the first witnesses for the defense was a cell site analyst who testified that Tsarnaev’s cell phone was being used at the southeastern University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where he was formerly enrolled, while his older brother was buying pressure cookers north of Boston two and a half months before the bombing.
Another defense witness, a friend of the younger Tsarnaev brother, attested that Tamerlan was “very strict” and “very opinionated,” manipulating Dzhokhar to go through with the bombings.
But these attempts at mitigating guilt are pointless. As Clarke herself admitted, Tamerlan did not put a gun to his brother’s head. Dzhokhar’s could have backed out of the bombings that killed three innocents and critically injured almost 300 others at any time. Reverence for an older sibling does not justify mass murder.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a cold-blooded killer who permanently scarred an entire city. The jury will hopefully realize this and hand down the verdict that he rightfully deserves.