Inside the boat where suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was discovered hiding just days after the 2013 massacre, prosecutors said, he scribbled a message on the vessel’s wall, saying he didn’t like “killing innocent people.”
Days after the bombing, Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time, was found holed up in the boat parked in a yard in Watertown, less than 10 miles from Boston. His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a police shootout during an attempt to escape. The defense said the two carried out the bombing near the Boston Marathon finish line, but contends Dzhokhar was influenced by Tamerlan.
Tsarnaev, now 21, faces 30 charges — 17 that could carry the death penalty.
On Tuesday, Tsarnaev’s attorney argued the note, scribbled in pencil, along with messages on social media, showed her client was a wannabe jihadist who wanted his eternal reward. He wrote that he was “jealous” of his brother who had received his “reward” in paradise. The prosecution said it only showed that he wanted to punish the United States government.
“I’m jealous of my brother” who, he wrote, went before him to receive the reward of Jannat ul Firdaus, an Islamic term referring to the highest level in paradise. “I do not mourn because his soul is very much alive. God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in his boat and shed some light on our actions I ask Allah to make me a shahied [martyr] to allow me to return to him and be among all the righteous people in the highest levels of heaven.
“He who Allah guides no one can misguide.”
Tsarnaev, a Chechen native, and his family moved to the United States about a decade before the Boston Marathon bombings.
With his brother dead and police on his tail, Tsarnaev jumped into the boat, dubbed “Slip Away II,” parked in a backyard near the Charles River, CNN reported. With a bloody hand, he grabbed a pencil and started writing his “manifesto,” prosecutor William Weinreb told jurors, blaming the U.S. government for “killing our innocent civilians” and writing, “I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished.”
“I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger,” Tsarnaev wrote in his message, which is interrupted by bullet holes. “The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that. … I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished, we Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all, well at least that’s how Muhammad [peace be upon him] wanted it to be [forever], the ummah [nation] is beginning to rise … has awoken the mujahideen [jihadist], know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that.
“We are promised victory and we will surely get it. Now I don’t like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said … it is allowed.”
Bloody streaks still mark his message. The defense established on Tuesday that the bullet holes came from outside the boat when police found him and opened fire. Boston bomb technician Todd Brown told jurors police didn’t find any weapons inside the boat, according to the Associated Press.
During Tuesday’s testimony, the prosecution also presented messages from two Twitter accounts linked to Tsarnaev. FBI agent Steve Kimball told jurors that Tsarnaev created one account about a month before the bombings and had been posting religious messages such as “It’s our responsibility my brothers & sisters to ask Allah to ease the hardships of the oppressed and give us victory over … Islam,” according to the Associated Press.
A message from another account the year before read: “I shall die young.”
Prosecutors said the tweets show that Tsarnaev was thinking about an attack long before Boston Marathon bombing, according to CNN.
The judge is now trying to decide whether to let prosecutors bring the boat panel that Tsarnaev wrote on or the boat itself to the courthouse.