As jury selection begins today in the case of the deadly Boston Marathon bombing, the father of the accused bomber said he and his wife expect their son to be put to death by “the Americans.”
“The Americans are going to harm my second son the same way they did to my oldest son,” Anzor Tsarnaev, father of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, told ABC News from Dagestan. “We already know what’s going to happen. Everything is in Allah’s hand.”
Anzor Tsarnaev's older son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a police shootout three days after the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Prosecutors say Tamerlan and Dzhokhar detonated two bombs near the finish line of the marathon, killing three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and injuring more than 260 others.
Hours after Tamerlan’s death, Dzhokhar was discovered hiding in a drydocked boat in the Boston suburb of Watertown. He has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The trial is slated to begin Jan. 26 and is expected to last three to four months, Judge George O’Toole Jr. said in court today.
Today attorneys for both sides will begin whittling down the 1,000-plus jury pool for Tsarnaev’s trial. Security was already tight before the process began, with police boats patrolled the waters in Boston as bomb sniffing dogs circled the federal courthouse.
Tsarnaev sat impassively at the defense table as O’Toole briefed potential jurors today, instructing them to ignore the media coverage of the event and, if they’re selected, to only judge the case by what is said and shown in court. Each juror, the judge said, would have to be capable of imposing the death penalty in order to serve for this case.
The judge said they have a “high duty” to serve and he asked them to think of their service not as an “annoying burden,” but as an obligation and opportunity.
Multiple times his defense argued that the trial should be delayed or moved, saying that it was impossible to get a fair trial in Boston due to the case’s high-profile nature, but those motions were denied. It is expected to be a long and painful trial.
“I want to see the death penalty,” said Liz Norden, the mother of two men who each lost a leg in the blasts. “I think he’s an animal… He knew when he dropped that backpack there [were] kids, women, families. His intentions were to do exactly what he did.”
In previous court filings, lawyers for Tsarnaev gave a glimpse of a possible defense strategy in which they could claim that Dzhokhar was under the control of his older brother Tamerlan, “an all-powerful force who could not be ignored or disobeyed.”
The brothers’ father told ABC News over the weekend he believes his sons to be innocent.