Key evidence in bombing trial shows 3 months of planning

As of Tuesday morning, jurors began reviewing evidence and witness testimony, which will play a role in helping them decide Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s guilt on each of the 30 charges he faces.

A key issue for jurors — both in the guilt phase and later in the penalty phase if Tsarnaev is convicted — will be whether the jurors see Tsarnaev as an equal partner with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in the Boston Marathon bombing and the violent events that followed.

Here is a look at some of the critical pieces of evidence presented during the trial. Taken as a whole, the evidence suggests that the plan to bomb the Boston Marathon took shape over three months.

January 2013


Tsarnaev, then 19, talks to his close friend, Stephen Silva, about borrowing Silva’s 9mm P95 Ruger semi-automatic pistol. Tsarnaev and Silva both graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in 2001, and worked as lifeguards together at the Harvard pool. Starting in college, both became very involved in selling marijuana, and Silva had obtained a gun, in part, to help him protect his drug business.

A Ruger semi-automatic handgun presented in the trial.
US Attorney's Office/REUTERS
A Ruger semi-automatic handgun presented in the trial.

Jan. 30, 2013

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Tamerlan, 26, allegedly buys two Fager pressure-cookers at Macy’s at the Square One Mall in Saugus.

The remains of a pressure cooker bomb.
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
The remains of a pressure cooker bomb.

Feb. 8, 2013

Tamerlan Tsarnaev used his credit card to make an online purchase of a remote-controlled car set, batteries, and a transmitter and receiver from Prosecutors said these items were used to help remotely-detonate the bombs

February, 2013

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev visits Silva and borrows the Ruger pistol — the gun that was later used to kill MIT police officer Sean Collier and during the shootout with police in Watertown.

March 11, 2013

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev creates a secret Twitter account, @Al-FirdausiA, with the user name Ghuraba and posted six Tweets in three days. The first post on March 11, 2013 reads: “I want the highest levels of Jannah, I want to be able to see Allah every single day for that is the best of pleasures.” He also maintains his original Twitter account that includes mostly typical teenage postings, but some that could be signs of growing radicalization.



Tamerlan Tsarnaev purchases some BBs at Walmart in New Hampshire.

March 20, 2013

Both brothers went to a firing range in Manchester, N.H. and rented two 9mm handguns, similar to the borrowed Ruger.

Video: Tsarnaev brothers at N.H. gun range

March 30, 2013

Tamerlan Tsarnaev also bought a screwdriver and soldering gun from Home Depot in Somerville,

April 8, 2013

Tamerlan bought remote-control car devices from RC Cars in Malden, which prosecutors say are related to the equipment needed by the Tsarnaevs to remotely trigger the bombs.

April 13, 2013

Tamerlan Tsarnaev purchases ammunition from a store in New Hampshire and sends $900 in cash through Moneygram to his and Dzhokhar’s mother, Zubeidat, through a location in​ Somerville.

April 14, 2013


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev opens a prepaid cellphone account under the name Jahar Tsarni.

He would use this phone while at the Boston Marathon the next day. On the same day, Tamerlan Tsarnaev buys two backpacks at a Target in Watertown that were used to carry the bombs.

April 15, 2013

At about 2:50 p.m., two homemade pressure-cooker bombs are detonated remotely by the Tsarnaevs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring some 260 others. Seventeen people lost limbs.

Surveillance video captures Dzhokhar Tsarnaev outside the Forum Restaurant

April 15, 2013

Less than a half hour after the bombs went off, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was seen entering the Whole Foods at Prospect Street in Cambridge and looking over different milk products. He buys a carton of whole milk for $3.49, then returns to parked car in the store lot. He enters the passenger side, suggesting another person, possibly Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was at the wheel. Within seconds, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gets out of the car and exchanges his purchase for a different type of milk.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev buys milk shortly after Marathon bombings

April 26, 2013

Days later, the FBI recovered a backpack belonging to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, which contained tubes of fireworks. In his dorm room, they also found a receipt for a BB gun, which was recovered from the Watertown shootout scene.

US Department of Justice

Patricia Wen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @GlobePatty.