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.”
That note is now stained with blood and marked by bullet holes from his capture. Prosecutors called it a confession that gives a motive for an attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 others in April 2013 on Boston’s busy Boylston Street. Photos of the message were presented to jurors on Tuesday for one purpose — to help determine whether Tsarnaev plotted to attack Americans in retaliation for policies he perceived to be hurtful to Muslims or whether he was a wayward youth taking orders from his older brother.
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.