Jury sees photos of 17 amputees from Boston bombing

Denise LaVoie
Associated Press

Boston — A woman whose left leg was amputated after the Boston Marathon bombing described her own painful loss, then identified photos of 16 others who lost limbs as prosecutors tried to drive home the brutality of the attack to jurors who will decide the bomber’s fate.

Heather Abbott took the stand Thursday during the penalty phase of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial. He has been convicted of all 30 charges against him, and jurors will decide whether to sentence him to life in prison or to death.

Abbott said she was catapulted through the entrance of a restaurant when the second bomb exploded near the marathon finish line April 15, 2013. She said her foot felt like it was on fire, so she began crawling to follow a crowd of people trying to get away from the bomb.

Later, in the hospital, a doctor recommended amputating her left leg below the knee. Her heel had been entirely blown off, and her foot was severely damaged.

“It was probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” she said.

Prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini asked Abbott to identify photographs of other amputees she has come to know since the bombing. The photos showed the amputees wearing prosthetic limbs, in wheelchairs and on crutches.

Another amputee, Marc Fucarile, testified Thursday from a wheelchair.

Fucarile, whose right leg was blown off in the bombing, glared at Tsarnaev as he sat about 10 feet away at a table with his lawyers. Tsarnaev did not look at him and stared straight ahead impassively.

Fucarile said he has had more than 60 surgeries. Two years after the bombing, it is still unclear whether his left leg can be saved, he said.

“We are going to try,” he said.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were wounded in the bombings. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was fatally shot inside his cruiser days after the attack.