Defense has rested in penalty phase of Marathon bomber’s trial

More than 40 witnesses, including Tsarnaev relatives, were called to the stand

In this courtroom sketch, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, second from left, is depicted standing with his defense attorneys William Fick, left, Judy Clarke, second from right, and David Bruck, right, as the jury presents its verdict in his federal death penalty trial Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Boston. Tsarnaev was convicted on multiple charges in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – One of the most anticipated jurors took the stand Monday in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.

Sister Helen Prejean is a Catholic nun who was made famous by the 1995 movie ‘Dead Man Walking.’ It’s based on her true story of working in prison ministry, serving as a spiritual advisor for convicted inmates on death row.

Prosecutors didn’t want Prejean to be allowed to testify, but after some lengthy sidebar meetings between the judge and lawyers last week and Monday, she took the stand for about 15 minutes Monday morning.

She told jurors she’s met with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev about five times. She said they’ve talked about Christianity and Islam and he’s been respectful. According to Sister Prejean, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said no one deserves to suffer like those individuals at the finish line did. She said he had pain in his voice when he said it.

Some powerful testimony before the defense rested their case, and a very different image of the bomber than what we’ve watched in court over the past several weeks; he’s looked somewhat bored.

Tsarnaev’s legal team rested their case, after calling more than 40 witnesses throughout this penalty phase. The defense team admitted he was involved, but pointed to his adolescence, troubled family, and controlling older brother in their strategy to save his life.

Prosecutors have argued all along Dzhokhar was an equal partner with his brother, and was so heartless that he placed a bomb by children at the finish line.

There is no court Tuesday; both sides will make closing statements Wednesday before the 12-person jury begins to deliberate. All 12 must unanimously agree to execute him; it takes just one juror to send him to prison for the rest of his life.

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