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Boston Marathon bombings' victims speak to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at sentencing

Before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev heard his death sentence Wednesday, a procession of survivors and victims took their chance to denounce the convicted Boston Marathon bomber to his face.

Rebekah Gregory, the last of two dozen who gave victim impact statements, looked directly at Tsarnaev.

"While your intention was to destroy America, what you have really accomplished is actually quite the opposite -- you've unified us," said Gregory, 27, a Texas woman who lost a leg in the 2013 terrorist attack and returned in April to run part of this year's marathon. "We are Boston Strong, we are America Strong, and choosing to mess with us was a terrible idea."

She then told Tsarnaev triumphantly: "So how's that for your 'victim' impact statement?"

Patricia Campbell was the first to speak. She was the mother of Krystle Campbell, 29, a restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts, who was one of three people killed in the bombings along with 8-year-old Martin Richard and Lu Lingzi, 23, a Boston University graduate student from China.

"What you did to my daughter is disgusting," she said. "I don't know what to say to you. I think the jury did the right thing."

Tsarnaev, seated about 20 feet away, looked down as she spoke.

The victims and family members, some in tears, described the horrors they endured after the bombings and the permanent sense of loss. They detailed post-traumatic stress disorders, nightmares, panic attacks, guilt, depression and flashbacks.

Scott Weisberg, 45, a family physician from Birmingham, Alabama, says he finished running his first Boston Marathon seconds before the first bomb exploded. He suffered hearing loss and a traumatic brain injury. He said his once-successful medical practice is now struggling, and he is getting divorced because his spouse can't understand the trauma he experienced.

Bill Richard, father of Martin Richard, spoke with his wife, Denise, standing in the courtroom behind him.

"He chose hate," their statement said. "He chose destruction. He chose death. This is all on him. We choose love. We choose kindness. We choose peace. This is our response to hate. That's what makes us different from him."

Richard said they had hoped he would spend the rest of life in prison instead of the death sentence penalty, but "on the day he meets his maker, may he understand what he's done, and may justice and peace be found."

Henry Borgard was a 21-year-old Suffolk University student walking to his Boston dorm when he heard the explosions. He suffered minor physical injuries but now has severe anxiety and nightmares, and he has been diagnosed with PTSD.

"I know how fear feels. I know how it feels when it courses through your veins and your blood gets cold," Borgard said.

Borgard said he is grateful that he was able to forgive Tsarnaev despite everything he did.

Karen Rand McWatters, a friend of Campbell, lost a leg in the explosions. She told Tsarnaev that he "stood there watching children play and still chose to leave his weapon of mass destruction behind those children as he walked away." She said. "He can't possibly have had a soul, to do such a horrible thing."

Tsarnaev also was found guilty of killing Sean Collier, 27, a police officer with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during the manhunt for Tsarnaev and his brother, who later was killed by authorities.

Collier's stepsister, Jennifer Rogers, had sharp words for Tsarnaev, saying he swaggered into court earlier in the trial as if entering a party. "He's a coward and a liar," she said. "He showed no remorse. He has not once shown that he cares about a single person but himself."

Rogers called Tsarnaev a "leech abusing the privilege of American freedom." She says Tsarnaev "spit in the face of the American dream."

Ed Fucarile, whose son Marc Fucarile lost a leg, told Tsarnaev: "The first time I saw you in this courtroom, you were smirking at all the victims for your unspeakable cowardly act." He added, "You don't seem to be smirking today."


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