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Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Writes Letter To 'Coward' Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Boston Marathon bombing survivors Erika Brannock, left, and Rebekah Gregory embrace in their wheelchairs as they head to the finish line of the Boston Marathon Tribute Run on April 19, 2014. (Elise Amendola/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Boston Marathon bombing survivors Erika Brannock, left, and Rebekah Gregory embrace in their wheelchairs as they head to the finish line of the Boston Marathon Tribute Run on April 19, 2014. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Hours after taking the stand to testify in the Boston Marathon bombing trial, blast survivor Rebekah Gregory penned an emotional letter to now-admitted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, calling him a "coward" and saying she no longer fears him after taking the witness stand.

"We don't really know each other and never will," she wrote. "But over the last two years, I have seen your face not only in pictures, but in almost every one of my nightmares."

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Gregory posted the letter on Facebook about fours hours after she had her day in court Wednesday. As a prosecution witness, she recounted in graphic detail the chaotic aftermath of the bombings, her injuries, how she tried to get to her 5-year-old son, Noah, and even how she saw bombing victim Krystle Campbell dead.

Gregory, who is from Texas, was at the 2013 marathon to watch her then-boyfriend's mother run. Gregory sustained serious injuries to her left leg and spent 56 days in the hospital before transferring to Houston for more treatment. She eventually had her leg amputated on Nov. 10, 2014. In all, she's had 18 surgeries including the amputation. It was a painful decision for Gregory, who last year also took to Facebook to write a breakup letter to her leg.

In her letter Wednesday evening, Gregory wrote that even though Tsarnaev took a piece of her, she is still walking. And on Wednesday, she walked into court with her prosthetic leg and was able to look Tsarnaev in the face and talk about what happened to her.

"I'm not going to lie ... my palms were sweaty," she wrote. "And sitting up there talking to the prosecution did make me cry. But today, do you know what else happened? Today ... I looked at you right in the face... and realized I wasn't afraid anymore. And today I realized that sitting across from you was somehow the crazy kind of step forward that I needed all along."

In the letter, Gregory wrote Tsarnaev has been her source of fear since April 15, 2013. But that changed after Wednesday, she wrote:

I am so much more appreciative of every new day I am given ...

So now ... while you are sitting in solitary confinement, (awaiting the verdict on your life), I will be actually ENJOYING everything this beautiful world has to offer. And guess what else? I will do so without fear ... of YOU. Because now to me you're a nobody, and it is official that you have lost. So man that really sucks for you bro. I truly hope it was worth it.

Sincerely,
Someone you shouldn't have messed with
‪#‎bostonstrong‬

Read Gregory's full letter below:

Dear Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,

My name is Rebekah Gregory. We don't really know each other and never will. But over the last two years, I have seen your face not only in pictures, but in almost every one of my nightmares. Moments before the first blast, your stupid backpack even brushed up against my arm, but I doubt you remember because I am no one to you. A complete stranger. And although I was merely just a blip on your radar, (someone that happened to be standing 3 feet from your designated "good spot" for a bomb), you have been so much more to me. Because you have undoubtedly been my source of fear since April 15th, 2013. (After all, you are one of the men responsible for nearly taking my child, and for the permanent image embedded in my brain of watching someone die.) Up until now, I have been truly scared of you and because of this, fearful of everything else people might be capable of.

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. (I was WALKING. Did you get that?) And today I explained all the horrific details, of how you changed my life, to the people that literally hold YOURS in their hands. That's a little scary right? And this afternoon before going in, I'm not going to lie..my palms were sweaty. And sitting up there talking to the prosecution did make me cry. But today, do you know what else happened? TODAY...I looked at you right in the face....and realized I wasn't afraid anymore. And today I realized that sitting across from you was somehow the crazy kind of step forward that I needed all along.

And I think that's the ironic thing that happens when someone intends something for evil. Because somehow, some way, it always ends up good. But you are a coward. A little boy who wouldn't even look me in the eyes to see that. Because you can't handle the fact that what you tried to destroy, you only made stronger. And if your eyes would've met mine for just one second, you would've also seen that what you "blew up" really did BLOW UP. Because now you have given me (and the other survivors) a tremendous platform to help others, and essentially do our parts in changing the world for the better.

So yes...you did take a part of me. 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. And now, I get to hug my son even tighter than before, blessed that he is THRIVING, despite everything that has happened.

So now...while you are sitting in solitary confinement, (awaiting the verdict on your life), I will be actually ENJOYING everything this beautiful world has to offer. And guess what else? I will do so without fear....of YOU. Because now to me you're a nobody, and it is official that you have lost. So man that really sucks for you bro. I truly hope it was worth it.

Sincerely,
Someone you shouldn't have messed with
‪#‎bostonstrong‬

Related:

Zeninjor Enwemeka Twitter Digital Reporter
Zeninjor Enwemeka is a digital reporter, covering a range of news. She also covers tech and culture as part of WBUR's Bostonomix team, which focuses on the innovation economy.

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