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Boston Bombing Trial: Jessica Kensky Recalls 'Blood Everywhere' After Blasts

A government witness describes the scene after the blasts on April 15, 2013.
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A woman who had both legs amputated after the Boston Marathon bombing described the shock and terror of the attack on Monday, telling jurors of “absolute chaos, people screaming, blood everywhere.”

The witness, Jessica Kensky, testified for the government on the third day of the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. His lawyers have admitted he took part in the bombings, but they say he was influenced by his brother, who was killed in a getaway attempt days later.

Kensky said that she was watching the marathon with her husband on April 15, 2013. She said she had her arms around him, and she recalled being there only 10 or 15 minutes before the first bomb went off.

“You could hear people screaming. Just animalistic screaming,” she said. She remembered someone telling her, “Ma’am, you’re on fire. You’re on fire.” She said the fire was “from my shoulder blades all the way down to my pants.”

Later, in a medical tent, she said it “just looked like absolute chaos, people screaming, blood everywhere.” She recalled worrying that her husband would bleed to death on the sidewalk.

He later suffered an infection from his injuries, and doctors worried that he would go into septic shock, she said. It was two weeks before they saw each other. “My husband was at the most needy time of his life, and I couldn’t be there.”

Kensky testified that she had one leg amputated shortly after the bombing and the other amputated in January of this year. To this day, she said, she has 30 to 40 BBs embedded in her legs.

The government showed jurors an animation depicting the paths walked by the Tsarnaev brothers near the finish line. Prosecutors also introduced a video showing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev buying milk at a Whole Foods in Cambridge less than half an hour after the explosions, and later appearing to exchange the milk.

But much of the day’s testimony focused on the horror and aftermath of the explosions themselves.

Danlig Zhou, a college student from China who came to the United States in 2012 to study at Boston University, described watching the marathon with her friend Lingzi Lu, one of the three people killed in the blasts.

After the first explosion, Zhou said, she tried to calm her friend down. She said she was about to suggest that they leave when the second bomb went off.

“I remember wake up laying on the fence and smoke everywhere,” Zhou testified. “I saw blood all over the ground. I remember there is a man, used to stand right in front of me, and he’s sitting down and turning his face towards me very slow motion, I can see his face and he’s very scared. I think he is yelling, but I can’t hear him. I can see his legs not there anymore.”

Zhou sustained deep cuts to her abdomen. Later, at the hospital, she recalled telling the nurse and doctors to look for her friend Lu. Only later did she learn the bad news.

“They were trying to protect me,” she said.


— Tom Winter, Andy Thibault and Erin McClam