Marathon bombing survivor to attend Tsarnaev trial

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — As the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial gets underway, many victims are preparing to testify – and a local victim plans to be there to support them.

When Eyewitness News spoke to Newport native Heather Abbott more than a year ago she had no plans to be at the trial, but now she says there are a number of reasons she’s changed her mind.

Abbott says she didn’t learn about the details surrounding the suspects and the events in the days following the bombings until recently.

“I think when I was in the hospital and during my recovery afterwards, I just didn’t pay attention to it,” she said. “I didn’t know about the fact that they carjacked somebody and I had thought for a long time that Officer Collier was killed in the shootout in Watertown. I didn’t know that he was assassinated for his service weapon.”

Abbott was forced to have the lower half of her left leg amputated after the bombs went off near the finish line back on April 15, 2013. Three people were killed in the attack, and another 260 were injured.

The shock of that knowledge, along with the fact that fellow amputees will be testifying, is why Abbott says she plans on attending at least part of the Tsarnaev trial, though she says she does have some anxiety about seeing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in person for the first time.

“I had some friends who went to the last hearing and actually saw him and they kind of described how they felt.”

Timeline: Heather Abbott’s Road to Recovery >>
Timeline: Heather Abbott’s Road to Recovery >>

However, Abbott believes the most difficult part about attending the trial will be listening to the evidence and testimony.

“I’ve had meetings with the prosecutors and the FBI, and they’ve indicated that there is some pretty graphic evidence and they expect it to be very emotional.”

Abbott volunteered to testify, but ultimately was never chosen. She said she has immense pride in those who will take the stand, many of whom she now considers family.

She plans to wait until after jury selection is over to attend the trial.

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