The government today rested its case against accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after teary-eyed jurors heard grueling, heartbreaking testimony about the bombing's youngest victim, 8-year-old Martin Richard.
Richard was 4 ft. 5 in. tall and just under 70 lbs. when he was killed in the Boston Marathon attacks on April 15, 2013, Chief Medical Examiner Henry Nields testified. The entire length of his small body was blasted with small nails, tiny pieces of black plastic, round metal pellets, small fragments of wood, segments of black plastic, and metal pieces of the bomb allegedly detonated by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in front of the Forum restaurant, Nields said.
Jurors saw the damage done to his clothing: a charred long-sleeve Boston Celtics jersey its sleeves tattered, large holes throughout, stained stiff with blood. Under that Richard wore a short-sleeve New England Patriots t-shirt, which was ripped apart and bloody. Nields said he recovered a shred of metal under that shirt – lodged there as it exited his body. His black hooded jacket was stained and ripped. Nields could not determine whether he was wearing pants or shorts because the fabric had completely melted.
Along with the clothing held up in court was a belt, which had been used as a tourniquet around Richard’s left arm, and his Nike sneakers.
Richard’s small intestine was eviscerated, part of his liver and pancreas were cut off. He suffered a "near complete transection of the abdominal aorta,” Nields testified. In addition, “he had shredding on his left adrenal gland.” He had third degree burns on his body, which was ruined with debris packed into the pressure cooker bomb.
Six small nails were pulled from his body. Jurors saw a photo of those terrorist tools, along with evidence of the cloth, Styrofoam, plastic and other items removed during the autopsy.
Was the child’s death painful? “Yes,” Dr. Nields testified.
If any juror tried to block out what they were listening to, it became impossible when they were forced to look at the autopsy photos. At least six female jurors cried during the testimony and two male jurors had shocked looks on their face. Other jurors simply glanced down at their monitors where the images were published then quickly looked away.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rested his face on his left fist looked down for most of the testimony.
On the other side of court Bill Richard, Martin's father sat holding his wife with his eyes closed.
In a still image from just before the blasts, Richard is seen standing on a metal barrier watching the race. Prosecutors say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can be seen in the same image, just feet away, dropping a backpack containing the explosives.
Earlier in the trial Bill Richard took the stand and described what he saw after the blasts.
“I saw a little boy who had his body severely damaged by an explosion,” Bill Richard told the jury flatly. “I just knew from what I saw there was no chance.”
In addition to Richard, two other people – 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 23-year-old Lingzi Lu – were killed in the attack and some 260 others injured.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts related to the bombing. His defense has admitted to his role in it, however, and has argued he only took part because he was under the influence of his older brother and alleged co-conspirator Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a police shootout three days after the blasts.