Apr 27, 2015 1:30 PM

Tsarnaev defense begins case in penalty phase of Boston Marathon bombings trial


BOSTON - The defense team for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has taken over in the penalty phase of the trial. In their opening statements, the convicted Boston Marathon Bomber's admit "no punishment can be equal to the terrible effects of the crimes, there is no evening the scales."

The defense painted a picture of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan's childhood and how their family moved around a lot before coming to the United States. They say both of the Tsarnaev parents were diagnosed with mental illness, so Tamerlan became the "man of the house." They continue their argument that Tamerlan may not have forced Dzhokhar into anything, but he was a strong enough influence on his younger brother.

The first few witnesses called by the defense testify about Tamerlan, and outbursts they witnessed at a store and a mosque in Cambridge. A man who graduated a year ahead of Dzhokhar at Cambridge Rindge and Latin also testified about Tamerlan's demeanor and encounters he had with him around Cambridge.

The defense ended their opening statements by telling the jury, "As awful as the crime was, a lifetime in prison to face what he has done is a better choice for everyone."

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