Deliberations In Chelsea Bombing Trial Set To Resume Monday Morning

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The defense made its closing arguments Friday and now the fate of accused Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi is in the hands of a jury.

However we’ll have to wait until next week to hear the verdict.

Rahimi is accused of planting two pressure cooker bombs in Chelsea on Sept. 17, 2016. One of the bombs went off on 23rd Street and injured 30 people.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, jurors sent a note to the judge after 5 p.m. saying they are close to a consensus, but need a little bit more time. They’ll resume deliberation Monday at 9:15.

Police said Rahimi also set off an explosive in Seaside Park, New Jersey earlier in the day. No one was hurt in that explosion.

In closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emil Bove stood behind Rahimi as he told jurors evidence including dozens of videotapes, scores of witnesses and Rahimi’s fingerprints and DNA were all they needed to know what happened.

Bove said Rahimi purposely chose “soft targets” and unsuspecting victims when he planted bombs that morning.

“By some miracle, no one was killed,” Bove said. “It’s not a defense that nobody died.”

The prosecutor said Rahimi, arrested in a shootout with New Jersey police officers two days after the attacks, left behind a claim of responsibility in a journal he wrote that amounts to a confession.

He said the open letter to the government described “his terrorist motivation, his deadly intent and his plan for the bomb” and came from a defendant who was proud of what he did.

“He wanted credit,” Bove said.

Bove said Rahimi carried out the bombings with “tactical precision,” pausing three times as he walked from Penn Station to the Chelsea neighborhood several blocks away because the bombs were set to go off at specific times.

“He was on a schedule,” Bove said, noting that Rahimi sat on the steps of a church at one point as he waited for time to pass, watching crowds of people go by.

“He watched them and he wanted to kill them,” Bove said.

There were some drama-filled moments Thursday when it seemed Rahimi was seriously considering testifying.

Defense lawyer Sabrina Shroff told Judge Richard M. Berman that her 29-year-old client, who had consulted with several lawyers, had chosen not to testify. Defense lawyers have called the government’s evidence flawed and urged jurors to keep open minds.

Earlier Thursday, Tsitsi Merritt, a Zimbabwe citizen living in Harlem, cried as she watched a videotape of the bomb’s explosion, which knocked out the back window of the car she was in, leaving her 11-year-old son in the back seat unable to immediately respond to her.

She said the earth moved like an earthquake and “people were running and screaming” immediately afterward.

“My ears were ringing,” Merritt said, describing vibrations she felt in her head. “I felt like I had an alien head.”

Rahimi was arrested after a shootout with police in New Jersey.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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