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Two survivors of the Boston Marathon say they have mixed feelings about the start on Monday of legal proceedings against the alleged surviving attacker, with one saying “we’re all just anxious to put this behind us.”
The attack on the iconic road race on April 15, 2013, injured more than 260 and left three people dead. One of the suspected bombers was killed in a police chase four days later, while his younger brother — Dzhokar Tsarnaev — was found hiding out on a boat. Tsarnaev faces the death penalty; jury selection began Monday.
Yet Heather Abbott, a 40-year-old from Newport, Rhode Island, who lost her left leg below the knee in the twin blasts, said she wasn’t sure if the legal proceedings would provide closure.
“I think it’s hard to say. I’m sure that it will affect everybody in different ways. I’m sure that in some respects it could be healing,” she said. “And then on the other hand I think it’s going to also be very difficult at times because it will bring up all of those memories from that day and there will, I’m sure, likely be evidence that will be new to everyone and probably difficult to see.”
She said she’ll attend some of the trial and thinks the jury will make an “appropriate decision” about the punishment Tsarnaev deserves.
“I change my mind all the time about what I think might be the right thing, but in the end, as long as he’s not out in the public again I don’t think it makes a difference to me because I’m never going to get my leg back and people who lost their loved ones are never going to get those people back,” she said. “I think that we’re all just anxious to put this behind us.”
Rebekah DiMartino, who also had her left leg amputated below the knee last fall after doctors tried to salvage the damaged limb, said of the trial: “It’s not my judgment to make and it also doesn’t change anything that happened to me.”
Adjusting to life as an amputee has been tough, Abbott said, but the support she has received from friend, family and other amputees has helped to heal. She recently started the Heather Abbott Foundation to help provide prosthetic legs to victims of traumatic incidents.
“But it’s not easy. I think I have good and bad days, and sometimes it’s hard,” she said. “My life isn’t the same as it was before, but I’m trying to make the best of what I have and be grateful that I’m still here.”