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To catch a bomber

The trial of the Boston Marathong bomber ended in May, but one of its lead prosecutors, Aloke Chakravarty 97L, was still coming down from that adrenalin rush, still catching up on the life he had before. This past fall, on a flight down to Atlanta to speak at Emory Lawís convocation, a cherished part of that life was seated beside him: his four-year-old son. For more than half his sonís life, Chakravarty was in the grips of this all-consuming trial. Although satisfied with winning a death penalty conviction in a town considered skittish about same, he felt spent.

The unthinkable unfolds

April 15, 2013. The Boston Globe anticipated a run like any other in the event’s 117-year history, choosing the playful headline, “Boston Marathon runners put carbs before the course.” A day later—amid destruction and uncertainty, the unknown perpetrators on the run—a new, grim reality set in for Boston, and the Globe’s headlines read: “3 killed in Marathon blasts” and “Amid shock at Marathon, a rush to help strangers.”

These are the signal facts about the event and its aftermath: At 2:49 p.m. that day, two bombs exploded twelve seconds apart near the finish line on Boylston Street. Among the three people killed was an eight-year-old boy, Martin Richard.

On April 18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was shot and killed by the bombers. Now driving a hijacked car, they threw explosives at officers and exchanged gunfire. Eventually, firepower exhausted, the elder brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, charged police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ran over his brother as police tried to handcuff him, contributing to his death.

Amid an order from then-Governor Deval Patrick for citizens to “shelter in place,” hundreds of officers combed streets in Watertown in an attempt to locate Tsarnaev. On the evening of April 19, a resident went out to inspect his boat and reported seeing in it “a man covered with blood under a tarp.” The boat was named the Slip Away II.

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