Tsarnaev Charged in Boston Marathon Attack

     (CN) – Federal prosecutors on Monday charged Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with using a weapon of mass destruction at the Boston Marathon last week, killing three and injuring more than 200 others.
     Tsarnaev, 19, had his initial court appearance Monday from the Boston-area hospital room where he was brought Friday night at the conclusion of a weeklong manhunt that resulted in the death of his 26-year-old brother and suspected accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
     In addition to the charge that he used a an improvised explosive device against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, Tsarnaev also faces one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.
     He faces the death penalty or a life sentence if convicted. Though authorities cited the public safety exception to the Miranda rule in questioning Tsarnaev last week, the White House announced Monday that the suspect will not be treated as an enemy combatant.
     The criminal complaint acknowledges that Dzhokar Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in Cambridge, Mass., and that his brother was a lawful permanent resident. Dzhokar reportedly attained his citizenship on an iconic date: Sept. 11, 2012.
     In an interview that was widely published during the manhunt, the Tsarnaevs’ father, Anzor, said Tamerlan was denied citizenship because of an arrest for domestic battery.
     “In America, you can’t touch a woman,” Anzor Tsarnaev told The New York Times.
     The Tsarnaevs are ethnic Chechens who arrived in the United States over a decade ago as refugees from Kyrgyzstan.
     In the 13-page affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, FBI Special Agent Daniel Genck describes the horror of the Boston Marathon explosions and the alleged actions of the Tsarnaevs after law enforcement disseminated their photos.
     “Near midnight on April 18, 2013, an individual carjacked a vehicle at gunpoint in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” the affidavit states. “A victim of the carjacking was interviewed by law enforcement and provided the following information. The victim stated that while he was sitting in his car on a road in Cambridge, a man approached and tapped on his passenger-side window. When the victim rolled down the window, the man reached in, opened the door, and entered the victim’s vehicle. The man pointed a firearm at the victim and stated, ‘Did you hear about the Boston explosion?’ and ‘I did that.’ The man removed the magazine from his gun and showed the victim that it had a bullet in it, and then re-inserted the magazine. The man then stated, ‘I am serious.’
     “The man with the gun forced the victim to drive to another location, where they picked up a second man. The two men put something in the trunk of the victim’s vehicle. The man with the gun took the victim’s keys and sat in the driver’s seat, while the victim moved to the front passenger seat. The second man entered the victim’s vehicle and sat in the rear passenger seat. The man with the gun and the second man spoke to each other in a foreign language.
     “While they were driving, the man with the gun demanded money from the victim, who gave the man 45 dollars. One of the men compelled the victim to hand over his ATM card and password. They then drove to an ATM machine and attempted to withdraw money from the victim’s account. The two men and the victim then drove to a gas station/convenience store in the vicinity of 816 Memorial Drive, Cambridge. The two men got out of the car, at which point the victim managed to escape.
     “A short time later, the stolen vehicle was located by law enforcement in Watertown, Massachusetts. As the men drove down Dexter Street in Watertown, they threw at least two small improvised explosive devices (‘IEDs’) out of the car. A gun fight ensued between the car’s occupants and law enforcement officers in which numerous shots were fired. One of the men was severely injured and remained at the scene; the other managed to escape in the car. That car was later found abandoned a short distance away, and an intact low-grade explosive device was discovered inside it. In addition, from the scene of the shootout on Laurel Street in Watertown, the FBI has recovered two unexploded IEDs, as well as the remnants of numerous exploded IEDs.”
     The affidavit further states that the low-grade explosives detonated at the Boston Marathon and in the Watertown shootout were housed in pressure cookers that also contained metallic BBs and nails.
     It says police apprehended Dzhokar from a covered boat in Watertown after a stand-off involving gunfire.
     He was carrying a University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth identification card, as well as credit cards and other ID, according to the affidavit.
     He is being treated for gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hand, it also states.
     At Dzhokar’s U-Mass dormitory room, FBI agents found “a large pyrotechnic,” BBs, and “a black jacket and white hat of the same general appearance as those worn by Bomber Two at the Boston Marathon.”
     There is no mention in the affidavit of what motive the Tsarnaevs had for allegedly carrying out their acts of terrorism.
     Media profiles have focused on Tamerlan’s adherence to radical Islam and his six-month visit to Russia and neighboring Chechnya in 2012.
     Massachusetts State Police superintendent Col. Timothy Alben emphasized the remaining work ahead of law enforcement in learning what motivated the Tsarnaevs on April 15.
     “Friday night’s capture of the suspect brought immediate relief to a community from a public safety viewpoint,” Alben said in a statement. “However, much work remains and many questions require answers. Today’s charges represent another step on the long road toward justice for the victims of these crimes.”
     Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty are prosecuting the case.

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