The defense team for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, will have to weigh the risks and rewards of putting their enigmatic client on the stand…
“In the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, more than 50 witnesses have been called to the US District Court in South Boston to give vivid and dramatic testimony recounting four fateful days in April 2013. Victims and experts have appeared in chronological order to piece together the chain of events, helping the jury become all too familiar with phrases like “military-grade explosives,” “shrapnel,” and “carotid artery.”
But all this witness testimony has orbited around one central character who has so far remained inscrutable to outside observers and, presumably, the jury. Amid the often agonizing detail of the bombings recounted daily in the courtroom, the thoughts and feelings of Mr. Tsarnaev himself have remained stubbornly elusive.
Lawyers on both sides have attempted to drop hints about Tsarnaev throughout the trial, trying to assert his personal level of culpability in a crime that the defense acknowledges he carried out with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, now deceased. Testimony from FBI investigators and cellphone experts has fixated on how the brothers were physically positioned at the marathon finish line: Was Dzhokhar standing next to Tamerlan? Or behind him? Also, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had two Twitter accounts – one of which seemed much more preoccupied with Islam than the other – but was this evidence of a religious radicalism, or was it harmless quotes of rap lyrics and TV shows?”
Americans for Peace and Tolerance is a Boston-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting peaceful coexistence in an ethnically diverse America by educating the American public about the need for a moderate political leadership that supports tolerance and core American values in communities across the nation. Americans for Peace and Tolerance is an organization composed of concerned citizens, academics, and community activists. As Christians, Muslims, and Jews, we are united by the need to keep America hate-free. We believe peaceful coexistence among diverse ethnic populations is only possible if we promote a climate of tolerance and civil society.
Dr. Charles Jacobs is President of Americans for Peace and Tolerance. Jacobs has been widely published, including in The Boston Globe, The Jerusalem Post, and the Encyclopedia Britannica, and he currently writes a column for the Boston Jewish Advocate.