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Tsarnaev: Government rests after presenting graphic and disturbing autopsy evidence

The prosecution rested its case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev today after calling three witnesses. The narrative by tweets from the courtroom tells the story, which is graphic and disturbing. The author of each tweet is in parentheses following the tweet.

I.  Dr. Katherine Lindstrom

Dr. Katherine Lindstrom did the autopsy on Lingzi Lu, the BU grad student who was killed at the Marathon’s finish line. Lu’s cause of death was blast injuries to the lower extremities. Lindstrom ruled it a homicide.

Lu’s death wasn’t immediate, but would have been likely “seconds to minutes.” Lu’s injuries “would have been very painful”; included torn flesh and muscle, “gaping lacerations”. Lu’s legs & thighs bore the brunt of the damage, Lindstrom tells jurors, including tear to femoral artery, which caused her to bleed out. Lu arrived at her autopsy still with 2 belts, used as tourniquets, on her legs. Lindstrom says she was conscious “as she bled to death”.

(Tweeted from the courtroom by JimArmstrongWBZ)

II.  Michelle Gamble (FBI Photographer)

She is a professional photographer employed by the FBI to photograph evidence and crime scenes.

We now see photo of Tsarnaev w/ backpack at his feet, taken from across the street. Gamble: He hovered over the backpack, keeping ppl away. (Laurel J. Sweet ?@Laurel_Sweet)

[We now see] never before seen closeups of the Richard family when they were last together, Tsarnaev just a couple feet behind them and the tree. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

Gamble shows jury a new photo – taken by a member of the public, a minute before the Forum blast. Tsarnaev is so close to the Richards. (Alysha Palumbo ?@AlyshaNECN)

It’s a truly haunting image with the whole Richard family so happy, Tsarnaev lurrking behind them. (WBUR Live ?@wburLive)

Gamble says the diagram [that she prepared from observing photos and video] shows people’s locations from a minute before the bomb went off. ( Bob Ward Fox25 ?@Bward3 )

In diagram we’ve just seen. Lingzi Lu was behind backpack up against fencing for Forum. Richard fam, in front of backpack. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ )

In next image: outside Forum, seconds before blast there, we see the Richard family, and Tsarnaev walking away, up the street. (tovia smith ?@toviasmithnpr)

As difficult as is 2see images of victims hurt/killed aft blast equally disturbing 2see victims enjoying race-feet from Tsarnaev just before (Tom Llamas ?@TomLlamasABC )

Photo of Richard family moments before blast, looking happy, shown to jury. Tsarnaev lurking in background. The Richards in court now weeping. (Alysha Palumbo ?@AlyshaNECN)

Showing the video from Forum before the blast, Conrad gets Gamble to testify she sees Tsarnaev put the backpack down at 2:45pm (tovia smith ?@toviasmithnpr)

Conrad: How far was Tsarnaev from the 2nd bomb when it went off? Gamble: I don’t know. C: You never took note of that distance? G: No. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ )

 

Midmorning Recess

 

As Tsarnaev stands and exits the room, his attorneys huddle together. Judy Clarke, Miriam Conrad and David Bruck all have very grim looks. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

III.  Dr. Henry Nields, Chief Medical Examiner in Boston

Nields tells jurors he has performed close to 4,700 autopsies in his career. He did the autopsy of 8 year old Martin Richard on 4/16/18 (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

He was about 53″ tall, the jury hears (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

We are about to see the clothing Martin was wearing that day. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

The clothing is now in a large cardboard box, evidence tape on the corners, lots of writing in black marker. Dr. Nields puts on latex gloves (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ )

1 juror is already holding her head in her hand, another winces. First item out is a little green Celtics jersey. It’s all burned at bottom. (Adam Reilly ?@reillyadam)

Can’t bring myself to look at the Richards as their son’s death is recreated in court. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ )

The left sleeve is torn, it’s very singed. Next item is Martin’s Patriots T-shirt, caked with blood; it’s almost maroon now. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

Next we see a black jacket, it’s largely shredded on the left, many blood stains. This is just awful. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

There is a belt in the box, it was found around Martin’s left arm, the jury hears. (Jim ArmstrongVerified account ?@JimArmstrongWBZ)

There’s so much melted fabric on next item, the doctor can’t say if it was shorts or pants. Last, his sneakers. Some jurors wipe tears, other sigh, some just look on. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ )

Nields: Martin had 4 abrasions to his head/face/neck, on left side. Evidence of gunpowder particles on the skin. (Alexandra Field ?@AFieldCNN)

The clothes 8 y/o Martin Richard wore, shown in court: charred green jersey bloody t shirt shredded jacket melted pants (tovia smith ?@toviasmithnpr )

med ex shows martin’s clothes-celts shirt w/gaping hole on side, sleeve blown 2bits. pats T under also shredded/soaked w/blood (Hilary Sargen ?@lilsarg)

Martin Richard autopsy showed a 6 by 6 inch laceration to the left side of his abdomen. Intestine was outside his body. (Kevin Cullen ?@GlobeCullen)

Nields continues: Richard’s aorta (major blood vessel) almost completely severed. (Kevin Cullen ?@GlobeCullen)

“Most of it was cut in half.” Also rupture of the stomach. “Shredding of his left adrenal gland.” Same with diaphragm. (Garrett Quinn ?@GarrettQuinn)

This is brutal. In short, Martin Richard’s abdomen was cut to pieces so badly that some of his organs spilled out of his body. (Carl Stevens ?@carlwbz)

Nields says Richard had multiple pieces of shrapnel in his body–BBs, nails, even pieces of wood. (Bob Ward Fox25 ?@Bward3)

Nields Martin Richard suffered third degree burns. (Lana Jones ?@Lanawbz)

Left calf and thigh had lacerations, perforations, charring to the skin. (J.M. Lawrence ?@BostonJustice)

Any portion of his body not damaged? “All …had injuries,” medical examiner says. (Alexandra Field ?@AFieldCNN)

Jurors wipe away tears, lower heads during graphic description of injuries to almost every part of Martin Richard’s body (Jesse Grossi ?@producerjesse)

The court room sees the nails found in Martin Richard’s body. They are small less than an inch, thin and sharp. (Ray Wang ?@raywang0)

Small nails, round pellets, small fragments of wood, black plastic were all found in the soft tissue and bone of Richard’s body (J.M. Lawrence ?@BostonJustice)

Fragments of wood, styrofoam, metal, nail, black plastic removed from boy’s body shown to jury. (Alysha Palumbo ?@AlyshaNECN)

Government is now showing jurors up close a piece of metal shrapnel that tore through Richard’s body (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ )

Nields: Martin Richard does from blast injuries to torso and extremities; homicide. He died principally from a loss of blood, he says. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

Nields: Martin’s stomach ruptured; I believe overall his injuries would have been painful. (Lana Jones ?@Lanawbz)

Dr Nields concludes cause of death: blast injuries. Manner of death: homicide. Bled to death largely from severed abdominal aorta. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ )

Neilds: his fractured ribs would also have been painful, along with other burns and injuries. (Holly Bailey ?@hollybdc)

Screens in the courtroom have been turned off as the jury is preparing to see Martin Richard’s autopsy photos (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

Jurors see Martin’s first autopsy photo: at least three are crying (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

Some jurors just stare at their screens, others have to look away. A 4th juror is crying, others cover parts of their faces w/ their hands. (J.M. Lawrence ?@BostonJustice)

Martin Richard’s parents in courtroom as jury reviews photos of his body. (Jim Armstrong ?@JimArmstrongWBZ)

There are “entry” and “exit” wounds from that metal piece jurors saw; it partially cut Martin’s spinal cord. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

Martin’s left forearm was nearly torn apart; Dr. Nields shows jurors in detail what happened to the 8 year old. (Garrett Quinn ?@GarrettQuinn)

This is some of the worst stuff I’ve ever heard as a journalist.  (Ray Wang ?@raywang0)

A near transection of the left forearm. A little more than a strip of skin holding the sections together. (The Boston Globe ?@BostonGlobe)

MT @MiltonValencia: Jurors are either wiping tears or just look mad.  (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

Nields also reviewed the Boylston St. scene after the blasts; we will all see those pictures now. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

One such image, too graphic for television, shows all the blood and debris in front of Forum…same debris as found at autopsy, Nields says. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

Nields: “He was 8 years old.” Nothing further from govt; no cross from defense. (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ)

“The government rests.” (Jim Armstrong @JimArmstrongWBZ )

The defense filed a routine motion for a judgment of acquittal and merger of counts. Defense counsel always do this in order to protect the record on appeal.

Defense is putting on a case, or at least attempting to do so by getting into the issue of relative culpability with their forensic computer expert.

But a pall hangs over the courtroom.

 

 

 

 

 

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Frederick Leatherman

Frederick Leatherman

I am a former law professor and felony criminal defense lawyer who practiced in state and federal courts for 30 years specializing in death penalty cases, forensics, and drug cases.

I taught criminal law, criminal procedure, law and forensics, and trial advocacy for three years after retiring from my law practice.

I also co-founded Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and recruited 40 lawyers who agreed to work pro bono, assisted by law students, representing 17 innocent men and women wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing their children in the notorious Wenatchee Sex Ring witch-hunt prosecutions during the mid 90s. All 17 were freed from imprisonment.

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