BOSTON -- Just minutes after allegedly killing three people and injuring 260 others in dual explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stopped by the local Whole Foods to pick up some milk.
Surveillance video of Tsarnaev’s purchase, in which he appears casual during the shopping trip, was shown to the jury today following a string of harrowing testimonies from the bombing’s survivors, family members of those who were killed and law enforcement officials since the trial’s start last week.
Tsarnaev’s defense said from the outset that he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a police shootout days after the bombing, were responsible for the deadly attack, but prosecutors showed the Whole Foods video today apparently to highlight how Tsarnaev reacted to maiming scores of innocent people. While the overall carnage was obvious, he likely didn’t know so soon after the blasts that three people had been killed, including an eight-year-old boy. That boy, Martin Richard, was still receiving ultimately unsuccessful CPR at the same time as the milk run, prosecutors said earlier.
Later the night of the bombing, Tsarnaev’s Twitter account read, “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people,” and then later, “There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don’t hear them cuz they’re the minority,” according to FBI Special Agent Steve Kimball, who took the stand for the prosecution.
The prosecution said in opening remarks that after buying milk, Tsarnaev returned to an apartment in New Bedford belonging to college friends where he “hung out with his friends and partied.” The next night, check-in swipe data and surveillance video showed that Tsarnaev apparently went to the gym, prosecutors said today. That night he allegedly tweeted, “I’m a stress free kind of guy.”
Today prosecutors also introduced a second Twitter account allegedly belonging to Tsarnaev, in which he purportedly wrote a month before the bombing, “It’s our responsibility my brothers & sisters to ask Allah to ease the hardships of the oppressed and give us victory over kufr [unbelievers] #islam #dua.” In another tweet, he asks followers to listen to the sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was a high profile American member of al Qaeda before he was killed in September 2011.
In other videos shown earlier today, an FBI analyst stitched together from various surveillance videos the movement of the brothers in the seconds before, during and after the explosions, at one point appearing to show exactly where and when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly dropped a backpack with a deadly payload inside in the middle of the crowd. The surveillance videos appeared to capture a phone call between the brothers, the explosions, and then the route each took to escape the scene.
Prior to the FBI analyst’s testimony, the jury heard from Jessica Kensky, a newlywed who, along with her new husband, was injured in the attack. Kensky said that immediately after the blast a man told her, “Ma’am, you’re on fire,” and then pushed her to the ground to extinguish the flames.
Kensky rolled to the witness stand in a wheelchair, having lost both legs as a result of the attack, though one was amputated just last month. Her husband, Patrick Downes, lost a leg as well. Tsarnaev maintained his flat, seemingly disinterested demeanor as Kensky testified, just as he had for most of the hearings last week.