Jury told of Boston bomber’s bright childhood

1 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Boston bomber trial’s sentencing phase stalled by juror illness.

The penalty phase of the trial of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was adjourned until Monday after one of the jurors came down with what the judge called a temporary illness.

Boston protests police brutality: “The crowd gathered behind police headquarters in Roxbury at about 6 p.m. and were greeted by police Superintendent in Chief William Gross, who shook hands with organizer Brock Satter. ‘I’m a student of history,’ Gross, the department’s first black police chief, told Satter. ‘If people didn’t protest what they felt was injustice, I wouldn’t be here in this capacity today as chief.’ (The Boston Globe ) Online racism: A study looking at how often people google the n-word shows Western Massachusetts in a bad light. (Boston.com) Ok, so what’s the best way to figure out if someone is racist? “Facebook is the best tool for sniffing out racists among your friends and family.” (Boston.com) How a stalker in Boston created an online hate mob: “Gjoni, a software engineer, had set out to construct a machine to destroy his ex.DARTMOUTH — He should have been one of these students, cramming in the library and chatting brightly in the café on this brisk Monday afternoon at UMass Dartmouth.

An attorney for Katherine Russell Tsarnaeva, the reclusive widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who conspired with his younger brother to bomb the 2013 Boston Marathon, acknowledged Wednesday that he fears his client could still be the focus of an ongoing criminal investigation into whether she had any knowledge of the terrorist plot. Earlier this week, the defense team told the judge they had every intention of putting five Russian relatives on the stand by Thursday, in compliance with the government’s request to have these family members leave the country by Friday; however, the defense also told the judge they had lots of preparation work to do and meeting this deadline wasn’t easy, according to a court transcript of a closed-door meeting with the judge earlier this week. Every written word [Zoe] Quinn had ever entrusted with him—all of her flirtations, anxieties, professional grudges, and confessions about her family and sex life—would serve as his iron and ore. But the defense got a reprieve when US District Court Judge George O’Toole announced Thursday around 10:30 a.m. that a juror had a “temporary illness” that made it “inadvisable to have court today.” This ended 90 minutes of unusual activity in the morning, as 21-year-old Tsarnaev was brought in and out of the courtroom, the lawyers went in and out of the judge’s chambers, and FBI agents and US Marshals staff huddled in various private meetings. They have not called her as a witness in the ongoing death-penalty case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, nor have they offered her immunity from prosecution if she testifies — a condition he has requested in the past.

The unexpected recess means Tsarnaev’s Russian relatives, who arrived here for the trial a week ago today, and were expected to testify today, will remain in the area at an undisclosed location through the weekend. UMass Dartmouth is crammed full of kids trying to fulfill the promises this country offered Tsarnaev, who was a sophomore here when he helped his brother kill and maim so many at the Boston Marathon two years ago. Tsarnaeva, who took the name Karima after converting to Islam when she married Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has long been an enigmatic figure in the bombing investigation. The attorney of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow is worried: “Amato DeLuca, a Providence attorney, said the concern comes largely from what federal prosecutors have not done.

Lawyers seeking to spare Tsarnaev the death penalty have sought to portray him as a bright young man whose chance at a good life in the United States was derailed when he fell under the influence of his now-dead older brother Tamerlan. Considerable evidence has emerged about her life with Tsarnaev, which has raised questions about what she knew and whether she could have stopped the bombing.

Bernie Sanders announces he’s running for president: “‘I think it is time for the American people to say enough is enough,’ he said in an interview. ‘We need an economy that works for all of us and not just for a handful of billionaires.’” (The New York Times ) Highly relevant: “Great Moments in Bernie Sanders’s Hair.” (The Washington Post ) But, as her family watched with worry and disapproval, in a little over a year she converted to Islam, dropped out of college, and went to a mosque to marry Tsarnaev, an unemployed high school graduate.

They portrayed the older brother, who was killed in a shootout with police after the bombing, as a domineering figure and Muslim extremist who planned the attack and built the two homemade bombs that exploded in the crowd at the race’s finish line. Since he arrived, the political science and English major has been a powerhouse: He helped push for a law that allowed low-income students to stay on their parents’ Health Connector insurance plans; he worked with City Hall to preserve and enliven downtown New Bedford, and helped include downtown eateries in the student meal plan.

Alexa Guevara cried on the witness stand Wednesday as she described her friendship with Dzhokhar on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Miller is a stand-out, but he reflects a wider culture: A staggering 80 percent of students here take part in community engagement programs, putting in more than 200,000 volunteer hours annually reading to schoolchildren, harvesting vegetables for food banks, giving legal advice to immigrants, and more. “I’ve never seen connections with the community as deep and extensive as here,” says Chancellor Divina Grossman, who worked at Florida International University before she took over here almost three years ago. DeLuca said he has not received any inquiries from the US attorney’s office about having his client testify in her brother-in-law’s ongoing trial, a case his client is following from afar but has no plans to observe in person. A former first assistant US attorney in Boston said Tamerlan’s widow’s absence from the trial — and her lack of an immunity deal — suggests that federal prosecutors are reserving the right to pursue her. This may be a public school, but students who live on campus must come up with about $20,000 a year — a price tag at odds with the mission of the school.

Throughout the winter of 2013, when the brothers’ bomb-making plan was underway, she and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were the only two adults living in a small 800-square-foot apartment in Cambridge. By that time, as her husband was consumed by jihad and anti-American radicalism on the Internet, she was heavily involved in being a devout Muslim woman, including covering herself, and had become adamant about certain Muslim beliefs, according to people who knew her. Also by early 2013, Tsarnaeva’s Macbook Pro computer showed substantial evidence that she had received numerous videos, photos, and articles from her husband,according to testimony by a forensics expert in the trial, suggesting an ongoing effort by Tsarnaev to educate her.

There are major expansions planned, in business, marine science and bioengineering, and in New Bedford, where the newish College of Visual and Performing Arts, housed in an old department store, has helped revitalize downtown. In 2012, her computer showed an Internet search posing the question, “If your husband becomes a Shahid,what are the rewards for you?” Shahid is an Arabic word for martyr. DeLuca declined to address the question of whether Tsarnaeva knew about Tamerlan’s bombing plan, but insisted that in the months before the explosions, she was preoccupied and worked 70 or 80 hours a week as the “sole supporter of the family” while Tamerlan was at home with their daughter. In court on Wednesday, friends painted a picture of somebody who was and could have remained like so many here, widening his outlook, improving his mind, finding his way — and yes, also doing what kids do, arguing about favorite rappers, partying, playing video games.

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