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N.H. Woman Injured In Marathon Bombing: Death Is Just Sentence For Tsarnaev

Brian Snyder/Reuters/Landov

The first four days of the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev have been filled with emotional testimony from family members of those killed and survivors who suffered devastating injuries.

Nashua resident Karen Brassard is among those who have been watching in the courtroom.

She suffered serious injuries to her legs while watching the Marathon near the finish line. Her husband and daughter were also injured.

She’s been traveling to Boston as often as she can to be there for the trial.

She joined Morning Edition on her way to Boston Wednesday for the fifth day of testimony.

First, how are you and your family doing as far as recovering from the injuries you sustained?

We’re doing well. Physically, we’re much better. We still have lingering issues but nothing that keeps us from doing the things we want to do, which is very fortunate. And obviously, this all coming up again kind of rebooting a little bit of the emotion, but we’re doing well.

It’s been heart-wrenching testimony in the first few days, describing the bombings and the aftermath. How hard has it been to relive that day?

It’s very, very tough. In fact we were all talking yesterday about how it felt like we had worked 16 hour days. It just is so emotionally draining to watch people suffer through that again but it’s much easier because we have each other. So many of the survivors are there and they’re there to support each other and help each other through it. It’s been a nice camaraderie with all of us sitting out there watching and waiting.  

Is that why it’s important for you to be there?

Very much. That, and because I want everyone to know that we are strong and we’re back and this is not going to keep us down and we have a voice here.  We are anxious to find out how things are ultimately going to work out.

Were you asked to testify?

I was not. However, one of the young ladies who was with us did testify, Sydney Corcoran. That was pretty tough to see her relive that, but they’ve all been so amazingly strong. It in itself is overwhelming to watch them hold themselves together while facing him is amazing. It helps us.

Can I ask you, and I don’t want you to betray any confidences, but can you set the scene and what you talk about with the other survivors?

We are just kind of there to support each other. At certain times, someone in the group will be a little bit overwhelmed and we’ll be there to talk them through it. We talk about (Tsarnaev’s) obvious lack of interest in the entire proceeding. Something that concerns me is whether or not he’s getting any pleasure out of hearing about the devastation and the pain that he caused. He doesn’t appear to care a whole lot about any of this process.

Tsarnaev is just not showing any emotion at all?


Tsarnaev has admitted his role in the bombing, the question now is a matter of sentence. Do you believe he should be put to death?

I do. It was a long struggle for me to get there. I really struggled with the idea of having to do that. But I ultimately have gotten to the point where I believe it’s just. The reason it took me so long and the reason it was difficult was because I didn’t want to make the decision out of anger or out of vengeance. I knew as time passed, I would be left with the result of whatever I said. I don’t think that it’s fair that he gets to visit with family and read a book and have joy when he took so much away from the Campbells and the Martins and Linsday Liu’s family. They don’t get that joy anymore. And he did it knowing what he was doing. He knew what the consequence was going to be and I think that is the just thing to do now.

The trial is expected to take several months. Do you think you’ll be there for much of it?

I do. Certainly, life has to happen outside of this, so there will definitely be times that I’m not going to be here. But I hope to be here as often as possible.

For many radio listeners throughout New Hampshire, Rick Ganley is the first voice they hear each weekday morning, bringing them up to speed on news developments overnight and starting their day off with the latest information.
Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.
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