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Boston Marathon Bombing: Lawyers Make Closing Arguments

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, center, is depicted in this courtroom sketch between defense attorneys Miriam Conrad, left, and Judy Clarke during his federal death penalty trial in Boston on March 5.

Prosecutors and lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are making their closing arguments today, the final step before the jury decides whether to convict the accused Boston Marathon bomber.

Three people were killed and 264 others wounded — some severely — when pressure-cooker bombs went off during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

Tsarnaev was charged with 30 counts, and he's expected to be found guilty of most of them. As NPR's Tovia Smith reported last week:

"Tsarnaev's lawyers have admitted he did what he's accused of doing. Their single aim is to try to cast Tsarnaev as less in charge than his brother Tamerlan — who died while they were running from authorities — and therefore less deserving of the death penalty if it gets to that."

The defense rested its case last Tuesday, after calling four people to testify; the prosecution had called 92.

Among the defense's witnesses was an FBI fingerprint expert who testified that pieces of the bomb showed only Tamerlan's prints; not Dzhokhar's. That was also true with the bomb that exploded in a firefight days later. The Tupperware bomb found after the shootout had prints from both brothers, but more from Tamerlan.

Another witness, a computer expert, testified that Tamerlan's computer was used to search for fireworks, detonators and gun stores. Dzhokhar's was used mainly for social media. Bomb-making instructions on Dzhokhar's laptop were transferred from his brother's computer, the computer expert testified.

If the jury does convict Tsarnaev, its members will then have to decide on whether to put him to death. That's when, as Tovia reported, "this picture of Tsarnaev as young, vulnerable, intimidated by his older brother will really be drawn by defense attorneys who are hoping to convince jurors to spare Tsarnaev's life."

Tovia is covering the trial and is live-tweeting the proceedings. You can see those here:

You can also follow member station WBUR's live tweeting of the trial:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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