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Boston Marathon bombing trial suspended for day over sick juror; testimony to resume Monday

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BOSTON — Testimony in the death penalty trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was suspended Thursday because of a sick juror.

Judge George O'Toole Jr. announced that the juror has a "temporary illness" but is expected to return when court resumes Monday.

Tsarnaev, 21, is on trial for his life. He was convicted this month of all 30 charges against him, including 17 that carry the possibility of the death penalty. The bombings on April 15, 2013, killed three people and injured more than 260 others, many of whom lost limbs.

Tsarnaev's Russian relatives were expected to testify Thursday but are now likely to testify Monday. In all, five relatives — all from Russia — are expected to testify for the defense.

The postponement of their testimony means they will stay in the Boston area for another few days.

Earlier this week, a prosecutor urged the judge to press Tsarnaev's defense attorneys to make sure his relatives testified by Thursday because 16 FBI employees have been assigned to guard and protect them while they are in the U.S.

PHOTO: This undated photo released Wednesday, April 29, 2015, by the Federal Public Defender Office and presented as evidence during the penalty phase in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Boston, brothers Dzhokhar, left, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev sit together at an unknown location. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured more than 260 spectators in April 2013. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a firefight with police days after the bombings. (AP Photo/Federal Public Defender Office)
This undated photo released Wednesday, April 29, 2015, by the Federal Public Defender Office and presented as evidence during the penalty phase in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Boston, brothers Dzhokhar, left, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev sit together at an unknown location. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured more than 260 spectators in April 2013. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a firefight with police days after the bombings. (AP Photo/Federal Public Defender Office)

"It's an enormous expense and distraction for the agency, and that's just part of the expense that the government has endured," Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said during a sidebar discussion in court Monday with Tsarnaev's lawyers and the judge, according to a transcript that was made public.

Weinreb said then that the FBI planned to return the relatives to Russia Friday. They arrived in Boston on April 23.

Tsarnaev and his family moved to the U.S. from Russia in 2002.

Testimony on Wednesday was largely focused on Dzhokhar as a child. His former teachers testified that he was a hardworking boy with a bright future.

The defense has zeroed in on the role Dzhokhar's older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, played in the bombings. Tamerlan died days after the attacks following a shootout with police.

Dzhokhar's lawyers have portrayed Tamerlan as the mastermind of the attack and a domineering influence on Dzhokhar.

To illustrate that, the defense introduced a photograph of a cherubic-looking Dzhokhar when he was about 9 years old. In the photo, he is sitting on a bench next to Tamerlan, who is about 16. Tamerlan has his arm around him, while Dzhokhar rests his arm on his older brother's leg.

Prosecutors have said the brothers were partners in the bombing, which was designed to retaliate against the U.S. for its actions in Muslim lands.

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PHOTO: FILE - This undated file photo released Friday, April 19, 2013, by the FBI shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev’s life is on the line as his lawyers return to federal court to make their case that he should be spared the death penalty. Tsarnaev’s defense team is set to begin presenting witnesses on Monday, April 27, 2015, in the penalty phase of his trial, the stage that will determine whether he is executed or spends the rest of his life behind bars. Tsarnaev, 21, already has been convicted of 30 federal charges in the twin bombings that killed three spectators and injured more than 260 others near the marathon’s finish line on April 15, 2013. Seventeen of those charges carry the possibility of the death penalty. (AP Photo/FBI, File)
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