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Charges in Boston bombing case could bring death penalty

By David Crary & Denise Lavoie

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:46 a.m. HST, Apr 23, 2013

BOSTON » The two brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon appear to have been motivated by a radical brand of Islam but do not seem connected to any Muslim terrorist groups, U.S. officials said Monday after interrogating and charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with crimes that could bring the death penalty.

Tsarnaev, 19, was charged in his hospital room, where he was in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the throat and other injuries suffered during his attempted getaway. His older brother, Tamerlan, 26, died Friday after a fierce gunbattle with police.

The Massachusetts college student was charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was accused of joining with his brother in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 200 a week ago.

The brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia who had been living in the U.S. for about a decade, practiced Islam.

Two U.S. officials said preliminary evidence from the younger man's interrogation suggests the brothers were motivated by religious extremism but were apparently not involved with Islamic terrorist organizations.

Dzhokhar communicated with his interrogators in writing, precluding the type of back-and-forth exchanges often crucial to establishing key facts, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

They cautioned that they were still trying to verify what they were told by Tsarnaev and were looking at such things as his telephone and online communications and his associations with others.

In the criminal complaint outlining the allegations, investigators said Tsarnaev and his brother each placed a knapsack containing a bomb in the crowd near the finish line of the 26.2-mile race.

The FBI said surveillance-camera footage showed Dzhokhar manipulating his cellphone and lifting it to his ear just instants before the two blasts.

After the first blast, a block away from Dzhokhar, "virtually every head turns to the east ... and stares in that direction in apparent bewilderment and alarm," the complaint says. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, "virtually alone of the individuals in front of the restaurant, appears calm."

He then quickly walked away, leaving a knapsack on the ground; about 10 seconds later, a bomb blew up at the spot where he had been standing, the FBI said.

The FBI did not say whether he was using his cellphone to detonate one or both of the bombs or whether he was talking to someone.

The criminal complaint shed no light on the motive for the attack.

The Obama administration said it had no choice but to prosecute Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the federal court system. Some politicians had suggested he be tried as an enemy combatant in front of a military tribunal, where defendants are denied some of the usual constitutional protections.

But Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and under U.S. law, American citizens cannot be tried by military tribunals, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. Carney said that since 9/11, the federal court system has been used to convict and imprison hundreds of terrorists.

Also on Monday, Kazakhstan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying two foreign nationals arrested Saturday in the Boston area on immigration violations are from Kazakhstan and may have known the two Marathon bombing suspects.

The foreign ministry said U.S. authorities came across them while searching for "possible links and contacts" to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Their names have not been released.

Shortly after the charges against Tsarnaev were unveiled, Boston-area residents and many of their well-wishers — including President Barack Obama at the White House — observed a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. — the moment a week earlier when the bombs exploded.

Across Massachusetts, the silence was broken by the tolling of church bells.

"God bless the people of Massachusetts," said Gov. Deval Patrick at a ceremony outside the Statehouse. "Boston Strong."

The governor and Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean O'Malley were among the mourners at St. Joseph Church at the first funeral for one of the victims, Krystle Campbell. The 29-year-old restaurant manager had gone to watch a friend finish the race.

"She was always there for people. As long as Krystle was around, you were OK," said Marishi Charles, who attended the Mass. "These were the words her family wanted you to remember."

At a memorial service for Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old graduate student at Boston University, friends and family vowed not to forget the light in their lives that was extinguished too soon.

"You need us to be strong and brave," Jing Li said of her roommate, killed as she watched the marathon a week ago. "We will keep running to finish the race for you and we will try to realize your unfinished dream."

Patrick also attended that service.

Amid a swirl of emotions in Boston, there was cause for some celebration: Doctors announced that everyone injured in the blasts who made it to a hospital alive now seems likely to survive.

That includes several people who arrived with legs attached by just a little skin, a 3-year-old boy with a head wound and bleeding on the brain, and a little girl riddled with nails.

"All I feel is joy," said Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, referring to his hospital's 31 blast patients. "Whoever came in alive stayed alive."

As of Monday, 51 people remained hospitalized, three of them in critical condition. At least 14 people lost all or part of a limb; three of them lost more than one.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hands when he was captured hiding out in a boat in a backyard in the Boston suburb of Watertown, authorities said.

A probable cause hearing — at which prosecutors will spell out the basics of their case — was set for May 30. According to a clerk's notes of Monday's proceedings in the hospital, U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler indicated she was satisfied that Tsarnaev was "alert and able to respond to the charges."

Tsarnaev did not speak during the proceeding, except to answer "no" when he was asked if he could afford his own lawyer, according to the notes. He nodded when asked if he was able to answer some questions and whether he understood his rights as explained to him by the judge.

Federal Public Defender Miriam Conrad, whose office has been assigned to represent Tsarnaev, declined to comment.

Tsarnaev could also face state charges in the slaying of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, who was shot in his cruiser Thursday night on the MIT campus in Cambridge.

News of the criminal charges pleased some of the people gathered at a makeshift memorial along the police barricades on Boylston Street, where the attack took place.

Amy McPate a Massachusetts native now living in Maine, said she usually opposes the death penalty, but thinks it should apply in this case.

"They were more than murderers. They're terrorists. They terrorized the city," she said. "The nation has been terrorized."

Kaitlynn Cates of Everett, who suffered a leg injury in the bombing, said from her hospital room: "He has what's coming to him."

Among the details in the FBI affidavit:

— One of the brothers — it wasn't clear which one — told a carjacking victim during their getaway attempt, "Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that."

—The FBI said it searched Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth on Sunday and found BBs as well as a white hat and dark jacket that look like those worn by one of the suspected bombers in the surveillance photos the FBI released a few days after the attack.


Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan and Pete Yost in Washington and Steve Peoples, Allen Breed, Bridget Murphy, Jay Lindsay and Bob Salsberg in Boston contributed to this report.

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SteveToo wrote:
Oh I used a bad word. Start over. As long as he gets the death penalty I'm Happy. And do it fast.
on April 22,2013 | 08:11AM
krusha wrote:
The death penalty would be the easy way out for him...
on April 22,2013 | 11:11AM
Changalang wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on April 22,2013 | 03:36PM
Sandyfeet wrote:
They should amputate his legs first, then leave him in prison for a few years to think about what he did before he's put to death.
on April 22,2013 | 03:49PM
frontman wrote:
Lets be clear, HE is not a suspect, he is a muslim terrorist. It is time the left leaning media starts telling Americans the truth and not what a socialist government is directing to tell.
on April 22,2013 | 12:21PM
QueSeraSera wrote:
Agree that he should get the death penalty. Even based on the teaching of the Quran, which this guy supposedly follows, his crimes are punishable by death [Source http://islam.about.com/cs/law/a/c_punishment.htm]
on April 22,2013 | 01:45PM
allie wrote:
Re[publicans, always the phoney warriors, want to declare him an enemy combatant even though he is a act-alone murderer and US citizen. Anti-American Republicans love to throw the Constitution out in a second.
on April 22,2013 | 08:17AM
serious wrote:
Stick to the article for comments. What does the Republicans have to do with this? Holder is a Democratic, as is Obama who stated he was looking for justice. If you want to hit political parties--Mass and Boston are 100% Democrats --- where were the Boston Democratic police, which were paid to monitor the race, when the boys dropped their knapsacks? Look at the videos--they were all watching the race, not protecting the area. And why did they have to shoot up that guy's boat???
on April 22,2013 | 09:08AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
serious you know better...don't throw ALL-LIE into mental turmoil with facts...he's likely to soil himself.
on April 22,2013 | 10:10AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Serious has an issue about police....the guys boat? Wow, you must loath the police being hero's.
on April 22,2013 | 01:12PM
AhiPoke wrote:
It's very disgusting for people like you that want to politicize a tragedy like this. Demagoguery may have its place but this isn't it. Shame on you.
on April 22,2013 | 10:09AM
aomohoa wrote:
Honestly,ever day I try to ignore allie but it hard to ignore stupid.
on April 22,2013 | 10:48AM
aomohoa wrote:
Stupid ridiculous comment as usual.
on April 22,2013 | 10:47AM
pcman wrote:
IRT allie on Repiblicans. A murderer kills specific person or persons for a personal reason. A terrorist indiscriminantly kills innocent civilians ,including children, within range of a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) and causes others fear of death and attack in the future. Chances are Republicans were also injured in the bombing. The FBI had the information on one of the perprtrators of the bombing but they failed to protect Americans from this bombing. It is clear this President is poorly leadiing and cheering from behind when he should clearly be leading from in front to protect Americans. We cannot have four more years of this failing leadersihip.
on April 22,2013 | 03:15PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
They declared a pressure cooker to be a Weapon of Mass Destruction? Tell me you are joking. So, like we could have dropped pressure cookers on Hiroshima back then? We went to war in Iraq over pressure cookers? And if a pressure cooker is a WMD, what the heck do we do about all the hand grenades used in places all around the world - obviously they would be WMDs too. Will inspectors stop pressure cookers ordered online from Amazon?
on April 22,2013 | 09:01AM
QueSeraSera wrote:
nah, the government will initiate background checks before pressure cookers can be purchased :-)
on April 22,2013 | 01:47PM
pcman wrote:
IRT Maneki on WMD. The common element of the pressure cooker and a WMD is that the target is anyone, indiscriminately, including children, within range of the weapon. The pressure cooker bombs killed three people and injured over 180 people. That's "mass" enough for most people. I never heard of hand grenades killing more than a handfull of people and I was in the active duty military for 20 years and in the defense department for an additional 24 years as a civilian. What we have to stop are people who leave backpacks in the middle of crowds and walk away talking on a cell phone. If anyone comes across that situation in the future they should immediately call 911 and get the hell out of there.
on April 22,2013 | 03:59PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I disagree with your assessment. WMD's pose an existential level threat.The phrase was coined by William Safire to describe the nuclear and radiological destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More recently we came to use it referring to the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq. The difference is one of scale. In military parlance it deals with strategic weapons and extends the classic N-B-C weapons to include radiological weapons such as "dirty bombs". No doubt the Boston bombing was horrific and evil but to classify the pressure cooker bomb as a weapon of mass destruction is, to me, pure political theater.
on April 22,2013 | 05:20PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Having read more on the subject I found that the definition is drawn from Federal statutes that allow virtually anything other than a firearm or fireworks to be declared a WMD. A grenade, bomb, rocket, whatever can be swept into the legal definition even if it makes no sense. As somebody said, one of the AR15s that the gov't wants to ban is actually deadlier than a WMD. Or as someone else said, well it's settled - wed DID find WMDs in Iraq.
on April 22,2013 | 09:30PM
loquaciousone wrote:
American Won! Terrorist can win small battles like the Boston Marathon bombing, 9/11, and WACO but America will always win the war. The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance.
on April 22,2013 | 09:49AM
krusha wrote:
Just send him to rot for the rest of his life in Supermax, where he'll have a lot of time to think about this mistake he made and wishing he was dead instead.
on April 22,2013 | 11:10AM
frontman wrote:
Lets be clear, HE is not a suspect, he is a muslim terrorist. It is time the left leaning media starts telling Americans the truth and not what a socialist government is directing to tell. on April 22,2013 | 12:12PM
on April 22,2013 | 12:22PM
frontman wrote:
Lets be clear, HE is not a suspect, he is a muslim terrorist. It is time the left leaning media starts telling Americans the truth and not what a socialist government is directing to tell. on April 22,2013 | 12:12PM
on April 22,2013 | 12:23PM
frontman wrote:
Lets be clear, HE is not a suspect, he is a muslim terrorist. It is time the left leaning media starts telling Americans the truth and not what a socialist government is directing to tell. on April 22,2013 | 12:12PM
on April 22,2013 | 12:23PM
onwardupward wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on April 22,2013 | 02:24PM
Changalang wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on April 22,2013 | 03:38PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Christians may preach their beliefs but they don't blow up innocent bystanders at sporting events to make their point. So you can understand why a Russian Islamic terrorist would want to kill innocent women and children? Do tell us why?
on April 22,2013 | 04:46PM
mrluke wrote:
I've been "chastised" by some Christian zealots, but none of them tried to murder me! Duh!!
on April 22,2013 | 03:43PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Any religion ... Muslim or otherwise that advocates attacks on innocent women and children is not religion, it's terrorist training. His citizenship should be revoked and he sent to Guantanamo for interrogation. Blow off his legs, I bet he tells you everything you want to know.
on April 22,2013 | 04:37PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
About 3 weeks ago a US drone accidentally killed 4 innocent women and 10 innocent children while attacking one Al-Kaida leader. What's the appropriate penalty for that?
on April 22,2013 | 05:23PM
Changalang wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on April 22,2013 | 07:27PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
They were not shields and the US acknowledged that it killed the innocent women and children.
on April 22,2013 | 09:18PM
mrluke wrote:
The operative word is "accidentally".
on April 22,2013 | 07:55PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
How about we rephrase it?

While deliberately targeting someone with a drone strike, the US killed 14 innocent people who were subsequently judged to be simply collateral damage. Yeah, the families of the innocents will feel much better now.

on April 22,2013 | 09:21PM
santravisco wrote:
on April 22,2013 | 03:53PM
moondog73 wrote:
I think water boarding would be appropriate in this case.
on April 22,2013 | 10:09PM
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