News

Boston bomber to make first court appearance

Boston bomber to make first court appearance

In this undated photo provided by Robin Young, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, poses for a photo after graduating from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. Tsarnaev has been identified as the surviving suspect in the marathon bombings. Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left one of them dead and another still at large Friday, April 19, 2013. Photo: Associated Press/Robin Young

BOSTON (Reuters) – Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is due in court on Wednesday to face charges in the worst mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001, a crime that could bring the death penalty.

The 19-year-old ethnic Chechen was charged late last month with killing three people by setting off homemade pressure-cooker bombs, assembled by him and his older brother, in a crowd of thousands of race spectators on April 15, and later shooting dead a university police officer.

That shooting, and a later gun battle with police in the suburb of Watertown, Massachusetts, led to the death of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and a day-long lockdown of most of the Boston area as police searched for Dzhokhar, who was found, badly wounded, hiding in a boat in a backyard.

The marathon attack injured about 264 people, with many losing legs.

The biggest challenge for Tsarnaev’s attorney, public defender Miriam Conrad, will be sparing him the death penalty, one observer said.

“I suspect that Miriam will start tomorrow by trying to change his image and make him look like the normal, average, clean-cut young kid,” said Walter Prince, a former federal prosecutor in Boston who is now a partner with the law firm Prince Lobel. He is not involved in the case.

BRIEF APPEARANCE

Tsarnaev’s appearance at U.S. District Court in Boston – the same building where mobster James “Whitey” Bulger is currently on trial – will likely be brief, with Conrad perhaps entering a not guilty plea on his behalf, Prince said.

Conrad did not respond to a request for comment.

According to court papers, Tsarnaev scrawled a note on an inside wall and beams of the boat in which he hid.

“The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians,” the note read, according to court papers. “We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.”

“Now I don’t like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said it is allowed,” he wrote, according to court papers. “Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.”

Tsarnaev was badly wounded during the gun battle and arrest. After initially being confined at a city hospital, he was moved to a prison west of Boston. Prosecutors have declined to comment on his current condition or if he is still being held at the Fort Devens, Massachusetts, facility.

The Tsarnaev brothers’ ethnic homeland of Chechnya, a mainly Muslim area that saw centuries of war and repression, no longer threatens to secede from Russia. But it has become a breeding ground for a form of militant Islam whose adherents have spread violence to other parts of Russia.

Three people died in the April 15 bombing – 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 23-year-old graduate student Lingzi Lu and 8-year-old Martin Richard.

Three days later the Tsarnaevs shot dead Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, according to the indictment.

Recent Headlines

12 hours ago in Entertainment, Sports

You can stream the Super Bowl

superbowl50helmets

This year, CBS will broadcast the game on TV and stream it live on cbssports.com. The network will play the same commercials on TV and on the live stream.

1 day ago in Sports

The weekend sports schedule

superbowlball

Here’s a look at some of this weekend’s major sporting events.

1 day ago in Sports

The week’s best sports shots

Mark Macaspac leaps off the Super Bowl 50 sign inside Super Bowl City Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in San Francisco. The Denver Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A look at some of the biggest moments and best plays in sports this week.

1 day ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: Puppies predict Super Bowl 50

15-overlay-5

Right or wrong, one thing is for sure: these puppies are adorable!

1 day ago in Sports

Broncos, Panthers set to deliver Super finish to season

16-overlay-4

The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers are primed to provide a grand finish worthy of a landmark Super Bowl 50 on Sunday and cap a season of celebration by the National Football League.