Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has expressed remorse over the bombings, a defense witness testified as his lawyers finished their case to spare his life.
Forty witnesses testified for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, including anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean.
Helen Prejean testified on May 11 that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told her of the bombing victims: “No one deserves to suffer like they did.”
The April 2013 bombings killed three people and injured more than 260.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, has expressed genuine regret and sorrow over the bombings, the Roman Catholic said.
Prosecutors pushed to exclude her testimony, but a judge decided to allow it.
Helen Prejean began prison ministry in 1981 in New Orleans and corresponded with Patrick Sonnier, a death row inmate who had been convicted of killing two teenagers.
She wrote a best-selling book on her experiences called Dead Man Walking, which was later turned into a movie.
Prosecutors will now call rebuttal witnesses. Both sides will deliver closing arguments before the jury decides Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s fate.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers have admitted he played a role in the attacks but said that his older brother, Tamerlan, was the driving force.
The defense emphasized on young age of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who was 19 at the time of the attacks.
Lawyers also highlighted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s rough family life. The Tsarnaevs – ethnic Chechens – had lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the volatile Dagestan region of Russia, near Chechnya, before moving to the US in 2002.
Teachers called Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “sweet” and “hardworking” while other witnesses said his mother was obsessed with religion and his father had post-traumatic stress disorder, contributing to his actions.
Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings, has testified that he locked eyes with one of the bombers just before the attack.
In the second day of the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Jeff Bauman said he met the gaze of the bomber’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was not watching the race.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is on trial for the April 2013 attack and could face the death penalty.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police.
“He was alone. He wasn’t watching the race,” Jeff Bauman, who now has to use prosthetic legs, said.
“I looked at him, and he just kind of looked down at me. I just thought it was odd.”
The testimony comes on the second day of the trial of the younger brother, which opened on March 3 with the surprise admission from the defense that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev participated in the attacks.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with 30 counts related to the bombings, which left three dead and wounded more than 260 people.
Several other witnesses took to the stand to offer testimony on March 5.
With an artificial limb clearly visible below her skirt, Roseann Sdoia said she saw two flashes of white light and then realized she no longer had a leg.
Prosecutors showed the jury a gruesome photo of her mangled leg.
“Someone came running over to me and told me I had to get out of there. I told them I couldn’t get up. I didn’t have a leg,” Roseann Sdoia said between sobs.
Jurors also heard from one of the emergency responders who detailed efforts to save a university student’s life and the decisions that officials had to make in the aftermath of the bombing.
Boston police Officer Lauren Woods said she helped perform chest compressions on 23-year-old Boston University student Lingzi Lu, whose whole body shook and whose eyes “kept rolling in and out”.
Lingzi Lu was placed in an ambulance, but was almost immediately removed when a paramedic determined “she was gone” and chose to save the ambulance space for someone who could be helped.
The trial will be split into two parts. This first phase is to determine his guilt or innocence. If convicted, a second phase will determine the punishment, and the jury will have to decide whether he will be put to death.
The entire trial is expected to last three to four months.
Jury selection has begun in the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is accused of killing three people and injuring more than 260 in April 2013.
He faces the possibility of the death penalty if he is convicted of detonating a pair of homemade bombs.
The attack near the marathon’s finish line was the largest on American soil since 9/11.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all 30 charges against him.
His trial is expected to last at least three months.
Jury selection alone is expected to take several weeks as Judge George O’Toole selects 12 jurors and six alternates from about 1,200 prospective jurors who have been summoned to the court in Boston.
The process could be made more complicated if potential jurors express objections to the death penalty.
Testimony is unlikely to begin until February, the Boston Globe reported, and a verdict may not be announced until late spring or early summer.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers say they have not had sufficient time to prepare for the trial.
They also argue that appointing impartial jurors in the same city where the bombs were detonated is impossible.
Correspondents say the prosecution will be one of the most important for the government since Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death in 1997 for detonating a truck bomb in Oklahoma City two years earlier.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan lived in the Massachusetts town of Cambridge, home to Harvard University, after emigrating to the US in 2002 from the Caucasus region of southern Russia.
The prosecution will argue that the brothers set off the bombs as an act of retaliation against the US for its military action in Muslim countries.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police days after the bombing.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded and eventually found by police hiding inside a boat in a residential neighborhood.
He will be defended by a team of five lawyers, including Judy Clarke, an expert in capital punishment cases.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is due in court on January 5, has made two other brief court appearances since his arrest.