Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged

Dzhokhar Anzorovich Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge was charged today with one count of using a weapon of mass destruction – namely, a pressure cooker bomb – in the Boston Marathon bombings that killed 3 people and injured more than 200 others a week ago.
“Although our investigation is ongoing, today’s charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with each of the bombing victims and brave law enforcement professionals who lost their lives or suffered serious injuries as a result of this week’s senseless violence…We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Tsarnaev, a naturalized U.S. citizen, could face the death penalty if he is convicted of the weapons of mass destruction charge.

Read more: Boston Marathon bombing suspect captured alive after leaving a trail of bloodshed in Cambridge, Watertown

Tsarnaev, who was captured on Friday after an intense 24-hour manhunt in Watertown, remains in serious condition after being treated for gunshot wounds to head, neck, leg, and hand at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Tsarnaev was arraigned in the hospital before U.S. District Court Judge Marianne B. Bowler. “Court is satisfied that the defendant is alert and able to respond to the charges. Defendant is remanded from the custody of the FBI agents to the U.S. Marshals,” according to notes from the court proceeding. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for May 30, 2013.

Tsarnaev will be represented by the Federal Public Defender Office. Miriam Conrad, Federal Public Defender for Massachusetts, filed a request asking the court to appoint two attorneys with experience in death penalty cases to defend Tsarnaev “given the magnitude of this case.”

The Justice Department on Friday revoked Tsarnaev’s Miranda rights, invoking the “public safety exemption”.

“There is a public safety exemption in cases of national security and potential charges involving acts of terrorism, and so government has that opportunity right now,” said Carmen Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, shortly after Tsarnaev’s capture on Friday night.

The “public safety exemption” would permit law enforcement to “engage in a limited and focused unwarned interrogation and allows the government to introduce the statement as direct evidence” in cases where the suspect could pose an imminent danger to the safety of the public or police.

On Monday, Ortiz declined to comment on “any possible communications between the suspect and law enforcement at this time” but said that investigators are seeking to “elicit all actionable intelligence and information we can from terrorist suspects taken into our custody”.

Tsarnaev is also suspected of killing MIT police officer Sean Collier and seriously wounding MBTA police officer Richard H. Donohue during a car chase and fierce gun battle with police in Watertown. The charges for those crimes have yet to be filed.

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