The trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of bombing the Boston Marathon in 2013, has begun and his lawyer has admitted that the suspect is guilty, but stresses that his attitude was influenced by his dead brother Tamerlan.
"It was him," lawyer Judy Clarke said as she began defending Tsarnaev. The 21-year-old could face the death penalty as more than 30 counts of charges have been levelled against him.
The incident has been dubbed as the deadliest attack on US soil since 11 September, 2001. The bombing, which took place at the end of the Marathon run in April 2013, had claimed the lives of three people, including an eight-year-old boy. Tsarnaev and his brother – who died in a police shoot out after a dramatic chase in the aftermath of the bombing — allegedly blew up pressure cooker bombs that were packed with ball bearings, shrapnel and nails.
According to BBC, the shocking admission by the defence team may be a strategy to place the blame for the bombings on the defendant's elder brother, Tamerlan, who is no longer alive.
"The evidence will not establish and we will not argue that Tamerlan put a gun to Dzhokhar's head or that he forced him to join in the plan," Clark remarked in the opening statement to the court, "but you will hear evidence about the kind of influence that his older brother had."
She said that her augment will not attempt to condone the "senseless, horribly misguided" plot to kill many people; adding that Tamerlan was, in fact, the mastermind behind the attack, while his younger brother was only a "submissive participant".
Few witnesses were also called in for testimony who reportedly recalled the harrowing moment of confusion and terror when the explosion took place.
"I was really scared," witness Karen McWatters told the court, according to CNN. "And I remember screaming for someone to help us. Everybody was screaming, everybody was screaming for help. It seemed like a long time before help got to us, but it probably wasn't."