Boston bombing trial: Dad forced to leave his dying son to save his daughter
The father of an eight-year-old boy murdered during the Boston Marathon bombing told a court on Thursday how he had to leave his dying son’s side to tend to the wounds of his grievously injured daughter.
Bill Richard’s son Martin was the youngest of the three people killed during the April 2013 attack and his daughter Jane had her leg torn off by the second of the two explosions.
Mr Richard looked directly at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged bomber, as he confirmed that his son died at the finish line of the Boston Marathon nearly two years ago.
In a halting voice, Mr Richard described how “a beautiful day” with his wife and three young children was ripped apart by a pressure cooker bomb allegedly planted by Tsarnaev.
As his son Martin lay dying in the arms of his wife, Mr Richard decided he had no choice but to try to save the life of his seven-year-old daughter Jane.
“I saw a little boy who had his body severely damaged by an explosion and I just knew from what I saw that there was no chance,” Mr Richard told the jurors.
“I knew in my head that I needed to act quickly or we might not only lose Martin but we might also lose Jane, too.”
Tsarnaev, 21, who may face the death penalty if convicted, rarely looked up as Mr Richard gave his testimony on the second day of the trial in Boston.
Of all the families devastated by the bombings, the Richards lost the most.
Martin died at the scene and Jane survived only after surgeons amputated her left leg. Mr Richard suffered burns and shrapnel cuts while his wife Denise was left blind in one eye. Their oldest son, Henry, was the only one to leave Boylston Street without serious injury.
A photograph of gap-toothed Martin, holding a sign that read “No more hurting people. Peace”, became one of the most enduring images of the tragedy at the marathon.
At a memorial a few days after the attack, President Barack Obama spoke of Martin’s “big smile and bright eyes” and how his “last hours were as perfect as an eight-year-old boy could hope for”.
Mr Richard told the court that going to the marathon had become “a ritual” for his active family and how the excited children had stopped for ice cream a few minutes before the blast.
“I can even remember of what each of them ordered,” Mr Richard told Nadine Pellegrini, one of the prosecutors. “But unless you want to know I’ll keep them to myself.”
The prosecutor replied: “I’ll let you keep your memories.”
Mr Richard has serious loss of hearing from the blast but told the court: “I can still hear music. I can still hear the beautiful voices of my family.”
Tsarnaev faces 30 terrorism charges. His elder brother Tamerlan, 26, the second suspect in the bombing, was killed in a shootout with police days later
The trial continues.