BOSTON: A double amputee told the Boston attacks trial Thursday how one of the alleged bombers brushed past him moments before the first explosion as police gave harrowing testimony about battling to save the dead.
Jeffrey Bauman, who lost his legs while watching his girlfriend run the city’s marathon on April 15, 2013, described how he helped the FBI from his hospital bed to track down one of the suspects.
Sitting just feet from presumed bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev he said he saw a suspect — who authorities have identified as Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan — bump past him and drop the backpack.
“I thought that was very weird,” he said. “Two seconds later I saw a flash, heard three pops and I was on the ground.”
He looked down and saw his legs ripped open.
“It was just pure carnage. I could see my bones and my flesh sticking out and I just went into tunnel vision,” he said.
“We’re under attack, that’s what I was thinking,” he said.
He described the suspect as white, six feet three or two inches (1.87 meters), of athletic build and wearing a black cap “pulled down real low,” aviator shades, a five o’clock shadow, a hoodie and a black jacket.
When a photograph of the suspect flashed up on television there was no doubt in his mind. “I was like: ‘That’s the kid I saw, that’s him!'”
Tsarnaev, wearing a brown jacket, a goatee and an open-necked shirt, kept his face averted from the witnesses and appeared emotionless.
The 21-year-old faces the death penalty if convicted of the bombings which killed three people and wounded 264.
Born in Kyrgyzstan, he took US citizen in 2012 and has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges over the attacks, the murder of a police officer, a car jacking and a shootout with police while on the run.
Defense lawyer Judy Clarke admitted at the trial’s opening Wednesday that the brothers were responsible, but put the bulk of the blame on Tamerlan.
Two police officers, voices cracking with emotion, testified Thursday how they fought to save Krystle Campbell, 29, and Lingzi Lu, 23, two of the victims who bled to death on the pavement.
Lauren Woods said she cleared Lu’s airways from vomit and applied chest compressions, but to no avail.
“I went right to her side and was crouched down on my shins, kneeling and tilting her head to the side and clearing her throat,” she said.
“Her whole body was shaking. She had vomit in her hair, debris in her hair and her eyes had kept rolling in and out,” she said.
Woods described a paramedic asking her to remove Lu’s body from an ambulance as she had died and later when her parents came from China, that she went back to the same spot on Boylston Street.
“We had a little prayer service. They wanted to know exactly where she was lying on the ground and I just told them she wasn’t alone when she died.”
Police officer Frank Chiola said he performed CPR on Campbell, whom he remembers as dressed all in blue and wearing blue eyeshadow.
“Smoke was coming out of her mouth,” he told the court.
“She was suffering, she was in pain and shock,” he added. Asked to describe the nature of her injuries, he said he did not have the words.
“From the waist down it’s really tough to describe, complete mutilation.”
“I saw blood everywhere, shock, people’s faces you couldn’t tell who was alive or dead,” he said.
Roseann Sdoia was another survivor who lost a leg and left the jury visibly moved, sobbing as she described the trials she faces as an amputee.
“It’s extremely difficult to learn how to walk again, to learn how to run again. It’s really hard in the winter living here in the city dealing with the snow,” she said.
People were walking around like zombies, covered in soot, she said likening the scene to a horror movie. A college student tried to carry her to safety but the pain was so excruciating she asked him to put her down.
She was taken to hospital in the back of a paddy wagon after no ambulance came for her. “The sirens passed and again I thought I’m going to die.”
Government prosecutors say Tsarnaev carried out the attacks to avenge the deaths of fellow Muslims overseas after learning how to build pressure-cooker bombs through an Al-Qaeda publication.
Rebekah Gregory, who lost a leg and who was one of the first to testify on Wednesday, wrote an open letter addressed to the defendant in which she called him “a coward, a little boy who wouldn’t even look me in the eyes.”