Boston Bombing Survivors Give Gripping And Emotional Testimony At Tsarnaev Trial

The father of Martin Richard, the boy who died in the bombing, testified on the second day of the Tsarnaev trial. BuzzFeed News' Mike Hayes is reporting from the courthouse in Boston.

Nearly two years after the Boston Marathon bombing, the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has begun. Here's the background:

  • Tsarnaev is accused of killing three people and injuring 260 others during the April 2013 bombing — the worst domestic terrorism attack since 9/11. He is also accused of the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier. He faces 30 federal charges in total.
  • A jury of 10 women and 8 men (12 jurors, 6 alternates) will decide Tsarnaev's fate. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. It took over two months to select the jury of a pool of 1,373 people.
  • Tsarnaev's defense attorneys filed four motions to change the venue, claiming the defendant could not get a fair trial in the city where the bombing occurred. U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole denied all of Tsarnaev's change of venue requests, and an appeals court denied two additional attempts by the defense to relocate the trial.
  • Tsarnaev's lawyers are not expected to argue that he is innocent of all the accused crimes. Instead, the defense will make their case that Tsarnaev acted under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in carrying out the attacks.
  • U.S. vs Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is the most high-profile federal terrorism trial in the United States since Timothy McVeigh was tried for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1997.


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William Richard, the father of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the bombing, is the government's next witness.

Next Gov't witness: Bill Richard, father of 8-year-old Martin Richard, killed in the bombing. #Tsarnaev

"We have a son Henry, a daughter Jane... and our son Martin is deceased," he says.

Martin IDs family in photo in front of Forum. "That's me, that's Jane with two legs, and that's Martin." #Tsarnaev

Richard told jurors that when his 6-year-old daughter Jane tried to get up after the bombing she fell.

"It was then that I noticed her leg," he said. "She didn't have it. It was blown off at the site."

He was shielding Jane and Henry's eyes and had to go back to get his wife, Denise, and his son Martin.

"When I saw Martin's condition I knew that he wasn't going to make it," Richard said. "Given what I saw, it was at that time that I saw my son alive barely for the last time. I saw a little boy who had his body severely damaged by an explosion."

Richard said he looked at Martin for the last time before taking Henry to the ambulance.

Jane lost her left leg below the knee and has had at least 20 pieces of shrapnel removed from her body.

Denise lost sight in one of her eyes while Richard suffered burns and shrapnel wounds. His hearing was also affected.

"But I can still hear the beautiful voices of my family," he said.

He ended his testimony with Martin's age: "He was 8 years old."

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The next government witness is Officer Tommy Barrett with the Boston Police Department for 10 years.

He was working the running route on Boylston St. when the bombs exploded. He was stationed across from the Forum restaurant. #Tsarnaev

Barrett said that as he ran toward the second blast site, it felt like "opening up the oven and your face was right in front of it."

While watching a video of the bombing, Barrett said "there were so many people that were hurt seriously that it was hard to choose who to help first."

He grabbed Leo, a 3-year-old boy who was bleeding from the side of his head, and ran with him "like a football" towards the medical tent.

He said he accidentally stepped on someone's severed leg and saw one woman who was holding her insides after her abdomen had been ripped open.

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The government calls Roseann Sdoia, a survivor who lost part of her leg in the bombing, as the next witness.

Sdoia says she had a regular Patriots Day routine: watch the #RedSox , then cheer on the runners at Marathon finish line. #Tsarnaev

When the second bomb went off Sdoia said she saw two flashes of white light explode at her feet. "In my head it registered that I probably lost my leg," she said. "All I could see was blood was pouring out sort of where my knee should have been."

She described the scene saying it was like watching a "horror movie."

"I thought 'I didn't want to live as an amputee...' I knew that if I didn't stay conscious, I would die."

She said she fought to stay conscious all the way to the hospital. "The thought of my nieces, my grandmother, and my sister... I couldn't die."

Sdoia's leg was amputated above the knee. She also suffered from hearing loss, burns and phantom pains.

Sdoia in tears says it's really hard to walk with a prosthetic around the city in the snow. #Tsarnaev

Sdoia identifies herself in a truly gruesome photo from the scene. "That is my right leg, severely mangled." #Tsarnaev

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The next witness is Boston Police Officer Lauren Woods, who was with 23-year-old Lingzi Lu when she died in the bombing.

Woods was at the Prudential Center responding to a shoplifter when the bombs went off. Heard screaming. Saw people running. #Tsarnaev

After the bomb went off, Woods said she found Lu, who was vomiting profusely and was severely injured. Woods tried to keep her alive by clearing her airway.

Her lower torso had extensive injuries and Woods said, "I could see blood, flesh, bone." Her whole body was "shaking, quivering" and her eyes kept rolling in and out, Woods testified.

EMT told Woods, "she's not going to make it." Woods stayed with Lu and talked to her, found her ID, said "Lingzi stay with us." #Tsarnaev

"Lingzi, stay with us, you're doing ok, stay strong." #tsarnaev

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The next witness is Alan Hern, a teacher and a varsity football coach in California, who traveled to Boston for the marathon with his three kids to watch his wife run.

Hern remembers buying candy at finish line, kids were playing. They were there for 3 hours, decided to move up street to the Forum.

His then 11-year-old son, Aaron, was injured in the bombing.

His 11 year old son was standing next to Martin Richard when the bomb went off. #Tsarnaev

Son had a wound on his left thigh, "a crater about as big as my hand." #Tsarnaev

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The next government witnesses are two FBI agents and an FBI computer scientist.

The agents testified about collecting several pieces of video evidence from the bombing which are critical to the government's case. They established a chain of custody for the videos of the crime scene.

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The government's next witness is double amputee Jeffrey Bauman who went to the marathon to watch his girlfriend, who he is now married to, run.

The U.S. calls Jeffrey Bauman, walks in with two prosthetic legs, plaid pants up to knee area, a brown rugby style shirt #tsarnaev

Gov't asks Bauman, who has two prosthetic legs, why he wore shorts to court? "When I wear pants it kind of trips up." #Tsarnaev

Bauman described how a suspicious-looking man bumped into him at the marathon and left a bag behind.

"He looked suspicious...didn't look like he was having fun like everyone else. I just thought it was odd," he says.

He then described what happened after the bomb went off.

Two seconds later, I saw a flash & I was on the ground. "I opened my eyes and I could see the sky." It smelled like 4th of july, fireworks.

"My ears were ringing," Bauman said. "Everything was muffled...I looked down at my was pure carnage."

He said he could see bones and flesh when he looked at his legs. "I saw most of the blood coming out of my left leg, I still had my knee, but nothing beyond it. There was a stream of blood coming out," he said.

"I was thinking, 'This is it.' I thought, 'I had a great life,'" Bauman said.

He later told investigators about the suspicious man, describing him as an athletic guy, about 6'3, wearing a black hat, aviator shades, a hoodie with a 5 o'clock shadow, and a black bag.

Bauman said that he saw the suspect on the news in the hospital. "I was like, 'That's the kid I saw, that's him!'"

Sketch of @Jeffmbauman testifying today.

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The first witness on the second day of testimony is a Boston police officer who responded to the bombing:

Gov't first witness: Boston police officer Frank Chiola. Iraq war vet. He's in police uniform. #Tsarnaev

Officer Chiola: "I remember a large sounded like a canon went off...people running, screaming." #Tsarnaev

Chiola described how he tried to save the life of a young woman with blue eyeshadow, Krystle Campbell.

Officer Chiola tried to save Krystle Campbell, a woman who died. “As I applied chest compressions, smoke was coming out of her mouth”

"From the waist down, it's really tough to describe. Complete muliation. That's as far as I'll---" Chiola stops, describing Campbell

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The government on Wednesday called six witnesses to the stand, including a survivor who lost her leg in the bombing.

Tsarnaev courtroom sketches of witnesses: Colton Kilgore, Sydney Corcoran, Rebecca Gregory, Karen McWaters

One of the witnesses, Shane O'Hara, a manager at Marathon Sports was emotional as the jury was shown a surveillance video from inside the store after the bomb exploded. O'Hara compared it to scenes from war movies like Saving Private Ryan and Platoon.

"I remember trying to decide who needed help the most, who can I help, and why do I have to decide this?" he said.

The jury was also shown three videos taken by witness Colton Kilgore whose mother-in-law was running the marathon. Kilgore was at the finish line recording the marathon when the bomb exploded and kept the camera rolling.

"The smell, smoke, gunpowder, flesh, just acrid and disgusting," he said. The video showed the ruptured leg of his brother-in-law's girlfriend Rebekah Gregory, who was the next witness for the government. Gregory lost her lower left leg in the bombing and her 5-year-old son Noah was hit by shrapnel.

An emotional Gregory told the court that while she was looking for Noah, she realized that her bones were sticking out of her arms and legs.

"Even though my ear drums burst, I could hear Noah say, 'Mommy, Mommy, Mommy — over and over again,'" Gregory said.

She underwent 18 surgeries on her leg, the last of which was an amputation.

The next witness was 19-year-old Sydney Corcoran, who attended the 2013 marathon with her parents to support her aunt. Corcoran suffered severe injuries during the bombing and her mother, Celeste, lost both her legs.

Corcoran recalled lying on the ground outside Marathon Sports after the blast as two men struggled to apply pressure to her leg, which was bleeding from a ruptured femoral artery.

"I was dying, the blood was leaving my body. I was bleeding out," she said.

As Corcoran was dismissed from the stand, her mother rose on her two prosthetic legs and walked out of Courtroom 9 behind her daughter.

The final witness of the day was Karen McWaters. She attended the race with 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, who was killed in the blast outside Marathon Sports.

McWaters, who lost her left leg in the bombing, told the jury how after the bomb went off, she dragged herself across the hot asphalt toward Campbell. When she reached her, they lied there, cheek to cheek, waiting for help.

"We put our faces together. We tried to talk to each other," McWaters said. "She said her legs hurt. Then her hand went limp and she never spoke again after that."

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Boston Marathon Bombing survivor Marc Fucarile leaves the court house between witnesses at Tsarnaev trial.

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Jury shown video from Marathon Sports of the bombing. Manager gets choked up, says it was like Saving Private Ryan, Platoon. #Tsarnaev

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RIGHT NOW: The scene at #Boston Marathon finish line. Beverly man holds an American flag as bombing trial starts.#wbz

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Tsarnaev's lawyer Judy Clarke speaks for the defense.

Tsarnaev defense begins opening by acknowledging bombing, other accused crimes. "It was him."

These deaths are "incomprehensible and inexcusable." Clarke says we will all agonize over all the tragedy.

Says these were result of "senseless and horrible acts" carried out by 26-year-old Tamerlan and 19-year-old "Jahar."

Clarke: we will agree with the gov't about a lot. #Tsarnaev did put a bomb on Boylston street, in front of Forum restaurant.

Clarke: we MUST hold #Tsarnaev responsible for the horrible things he did. but he took that path because of his brother's influence.

"It was Tamerlan who self radicalized. It was Dzhokhar who followed."

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Prosecutor William Weinreb gave the opening statement for the government.

Courtroom sketch: Prosecution makes opening statements

Weinreb: He decided to place his bomb directly behind a line of children. "One of those children was Martin Richard." #Tsarnaev

W: "He pretended to be a spectator, but he had murder in his heart... He had a side to him he kept hidden even from his closes friends."

Weinreb: #Tsarnaev thought he'd punish U.S. for mis-treating Muslims in other countries..thought he'd be rewarded with Paradise.

Gov't: In March 2013, Tsarnaev brothers drove to New Hampshire to practice shooting 9mm handguns.

Weinreb: a few hours after the FBI releases pics, #Tsarnaev gets text from friend. "Better not text me, my friend, LOL" #Tsarnaev wrote.

The jury sees a smiling, young Martin jury looks at the happy boy, alive, prosecutor describes boy's horrific death. #Tsarnaev

Weinreb: He blew Martin's arms off, caused him to lose so much blood there was almost none left in his body. (Richard parents stare ahead.)

Weinreb concluding now: "he did it all because America needed to be punished for killing Muslims overseas." #tsarnaev

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Jury brought in. 10 women, 8 men. All white except for one man. #Tsarnaev

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Judge starts off by denying final change of venue motion. Opening statements will begin with the gov't followed by the defense. #Tsarnaev

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#Tsarnaev sits at defense table, starts talking, smiling with attorneys. He's in a black suit, collared shirt, top couple buttons undone.

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First witness will be Tom Grilk executive dir of the BAA which runs the Boston Marathon. #wcvb

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Survivors in courtroom: Office Dic Donahue, Carlos Arredondo and wife, Heather Abbott, among others.

The family of Martin Richard, the 8 yr old boy, is also here. #tsarnaev

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Prosecutors arrive at courthouse for #Tsarnaev opening statements. Big media presence.

This is a developing story. Check back here and follow BuzzFeed News reporter Mike Hayes on Twitter for updates.

Sydney Corcoran suffered leg injuries in the bombing. An earlier version misstated that she had lost her foot.