In open letter, victim calls Boston bomber ‘a nobody’
BOSTON (AP) — Rebekah Gregory isn’t scared anymore.
The Boston Marathon bombing victim, who lost a leg in the 2013 attacks that killed three people, trembled and wept as she testified this week in the federal death penalty trial of admitted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
But taking the stand brought Gregory, 27, a surprising sense of peace and closure — emotions she channeled into an indignant open letter to Tsarnaev on her Facebook page.
“Today I looked at you right in the face ... and realized I wasn’t afraid anymore,” she wrote, denouncing Tsarnaev as “a nobody” and signing her letter: “Someone you shouldn’t have messed with.”
“Up until now, I have been truly scared of you and because of this, fearful of everything else people might be capable of,” Gregory wrote. “But today, all that changed. Because this afternoon, I got to walk into a courtroom and take my place at the witness stand, just a few feet away from where you were sitting.”
As of Friday morning, her letter had more than 33,000 likes and more than 9,500 shares on Facebook and was widely distributed on Twitter, provoking a spirited response from well-wishers worldwide.
“Rebekah Gregory is truly an inspiration,” said Jenna Burpee, a Boston portrait photographer.
Gregory, who had gone to watch the race with her 5-year-old son, Noah, was among the first witnesses to testify following Wednesday’s opening statements. She described seeing her shattered leg bones on the bloodied sidewalk and tearfully recalled the fear that gripped her when she couldn’t find her little boy in the immediate aftermath.
Gregory had 17 surgeries on her leg before deciding to have it amputated.
“So yes, you did take a part of me,” she wrote. “Congratulations, you now have a leg up ... literally. But in so many ways, you saved my life. Because now, I am so much more appreciative of every new day I am given.”