FOX 25: Nun: Tsarnaev said bombing victims didn’t deserve to suffer

May 11, 2015

BOSTON ( – Testimony in the death penalty phase of the Tsarnaev trial finished on Monday. Sister Helen Prejean took the stand Monday in the federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The judge allowed her to testify despite prosecutors’ objections.

Prejean testified Monday that she began meeting with Tsarnaev in early March at the request of his defense team. She said she had met with Tsarnaev a total of five times, most recently just a few days ago.

She said she asked him how he felt about what happened to the victims of the bombing. She says he said, “No one deserves to suffer like they did.”

Tsarnaev’s lawyer asked Prejean what she noticed about his voice when he said the victims didn’t deserve to suffer. Prejean said his voice had pain in it and she believes he was genuinely sorry for what he did.

Outside of court on Monday afternoon, Prejean said she would not comment until after the jury delivered its sentencing verdict.

Prejean’s book, Dead Man Walking, was turned into a major Hollywood film, with actor Susan Sarandon playing the part of Sr. Helen as she ministers to a condemned inmate, portrayed by Sean Penn.

Boston defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Brad Bailey said Sr. Helen’s testimony, as limited as it was, could prove to be very important.

“She is a catholic nun in a predominantly Catholic state, in a case in which we are looking at jihadism and Muslim extremism,” Bailey said. “To have it be the words of a Catholic nun characterizing this as remorse, or repeating what the defense will say is remorse, is extremely powerful.”

Prejean was the last witness for the defense, which called more than 40 witnesses in the penalty phase of the trial overall. The government ended its case Monday after calling two rebuttal witnesses.

Closing arguments are set for Wednesday.

The warden of a federal penitentiary where Tsarnaev would likely go if he’s sentenced to life in prison testified as a rebuttal witness that inmates there can earn a college degree, write a book, and send and receive an unlimited number of letters.

The defense argued that his late older brother was the mastermind of the bombings and lured then-19-year-old Dzhokhar into his plan. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when bombs exploded near the marathon finish line April 15, 2013.

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If you have this type of case contact Brad Bailey one of the top criminal defense lawyers in Boston.

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