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Tsarnaev tears up after relative is

overcome on stand
A first show of emotion from convicted Marathon bomber



ByPatriciaWenandMiltonJ.Valencia G LO BE S TAF F M AY 04, 2015

The consistently stoic demeanor of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar

Tsarnaev dissolved for the first time since testimony in his death-penalty trial
began two months ago, as he seemed to react to his Russian aunts
uncontrollable sobs on the witness stand with tears of his own.
In a trial filled with raw emotional moments, this one featured gray-haired
Patimat Suleimanova an older sister of Tsarnaevs mother breaking
down as soon as she saw her 21-year-old nephew sitting at the defense table
10 feet away from her. Suleimanova, 64, began crying, then heaving, and
became unable to speak. The judge, lawyers, jurors, and a Russian translator
waited to see if she could regain her composure.
After three minutes, US District Court Judge George OToole suggested to the
defense lawyers that this aunt testify later, and as she left the stand, Tsarnaev
began to wipe his right eye repeatedly with a tissue. Seconds later, he used his
hands to wipe his eyes again, slumped back in his wooden chair.
About an hour later, the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School graduate
showed a different emotion after another aunt and a cousin took the stand
and spoke glowingly of him as an adorable and compliant boy when they
knew him before the family moved to the United States. As Tsarnaev was
being led away by US marshals for the lunch break, he looked back where the
pair stood and blew them a kiss the first time he has faced the spectator
section of the courtroom and publicly showed any emotion.
Federal prosecutors, who say Tsarnaev is a remorseless terrorist, want the
jury to sentence him to death.

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Compassion drove mentor

to testify
When testifying last week, Becki Norris told
jurors that Tsarnaev was among a handful of
students shell always remember.

The defense, so far, has devoted much of its case in the sentencing phase of
the death penalty trial to highlighting the domineering role of Tsarnaevs
older brother, Tamerlan. On Monday, they used the testimony of the relatives
to offer reasons why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as a shy, obedient child, might
follow his brothers lead in the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon, which
killed three people and injured more than 260 others. The brothers also killed
an MIT police officer and hurled bombs and shot at police in a confrontation
in Watertown several days later.
Tsarnaevs gesture of blowing a kiss to relatives was done after jurors had left
for their lunch break, but his appearance of crying was done in the presence of
the jury. It was the first time he visibly displayed emotion as a result of
testimony, which helps fulfill the defenses desire to humanize him; however,
it was in response to an aunt whom he never knew very well, and he has been
impassive during previous weeks of gut-wrenching testimony from victims.

His emotional displays took place on a day dominated by testimony from five
relatives on his mothers side and originally from Dagestan who flew from
Russia to testify. Most of them became tearful on the stand, as they seemed to
try to reconcile the radical changes after the Tsarnaev family moved to the
United States about 13 years ago.



The relatives each acknowledged that they had far less contact with the family
in the past decade and last knew Tsarnaev when he was about 8 years old.
The relatives testimony shared common themes, including describing
Tsarnaev as an angelic, adorable boy who brought out loving and nurturing
feelings among those who knew him. Some relatives described a particularly
stern aunt whose maternal feelings were brought out by little Tsarnaev, and
she indulged him, including letting him once urinate in a sink, which
triggered chuckles from some jurors.

They described young Tsarnaev as a sensitive boy, who once cried watching
the Lion King movie. They also testified about deep worry over Tsarnaevs
mother, Zubeidat, and over Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as they began embracing
extremist Islamic ideas.
This dramatic change was very strange, Naida Suleimanova, one of
Tsarnaevs cousins, said through a Russian translator.
In particular, these relatives recalled being stunned when Tsarnaevs mother
after living in the United States for a number of years started covering
her head and wearing traditional black Muslim clothing. They said she used to
be a vivacious, stylish dresser with little interest in religion when she, her
husband, and four children lived in Kyrgyzstan and in southern Russia.
It was a shock for me, said Raisat Suleimanova, Naidas sister. She used to
be such a fashionable person.
Relatives also expressed concern about Tamerlan Tsarnaevs religious fervor,
which they said was not part of their family tradition. One photo shown to
jurors of the extended family in Russia includes a decorated Christmas tree,
and they said they often had such a tree as part of the New Years celebration.
They also acknowledged the patriarchal tradition in their culture and the role
of an older brother. You always try to listen to your older brother and follow
his example, said Naida Suleimanova.
She identified Tamerlan Tsarnaevs voice on an audio recording that was
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played to the jury. In the recording allegedly made in 2012 when he spent
about six months
in Dagestan, Tsarnaev was talking to another relative about

establishing an Islamic government.

I have this rage of hatred inside me, Tsarnaev said in Russian, which was
translated in writing for jurors. Somehow deep down in my heart I dont
believe that the caliphate will be established in my lifetime.
The defense case is expected to last about another week, and lawyers have
said among the witnesses they will call is an expert to talk about the
impulsivity and immaturity of the young adult brain. The defense also plans
to call some experts who know about politically restive southern Russia and
the history of the Chechen people. Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs fathers side of the
family is from Chechnya.
Because one of Tsarnaevs aunts appearances was cut short due to her
distress, it remains unclear if she will instead testify Tuesday. That aunt
housed Tamerlan Tsarnaev when he lived in Dagestan in 2012 and could have
insight into his radicalization. The presence of the relatives has drawn
widespread media attention. The prosecution has complained that they are
here at great expense and difficulty; the relatives are being guarded by 16 FBI
agents, prosecutor William Weinreb said last week in a closed-door session
with the judge.
Spectators in the courtroom Monday included some victims, and a few people
who were once close to the Tsarnaevs, including Joanna Herlihy, the longtime
Cambridge landlord for the Tsarnaev family. Her son testified for the defense
last week.
Herlihy said she does not expect to be called as a witness but wanted to hear
what the Russian relatives had to say. She said she now regrets not taking
more time to talk with Tamerlan Tsarnaev when he lived two floors above her
on Norfolk Street in Cambridge.
I wished I had worked harder on him, she said.

During Mondays testimony, defense attorney William Fick had to stop

several times during his questioning of the Russian relatives, as they
frequently became overcome by emotion. They testified about a once tightknit extended family that used to share holidays together. Tsarnaevs cousins
often referred to him as a brother, following their cultural tradition that
embraces that term for cousins.
At one point as Naida Suleimanova began weeping on the stand, Fick asked
her why she was crying. Because Im seeing my brother for the first time in so
many years, she said. Its not easy.






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