WASHINGTON, April 21, 2013 — UPDATE — Suspect facing death penalty. Read: Bombing suspect responds to FBI questions in writing and Boston Bomber charged by federal prosecuters, death penalty possible
According to Senator Dan Coats (R - Ind.) on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” the Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, captured Friday night by law enforcement was shot in the throat and is unable to talk to the FBI.
Coats elaborated: “The information we have is that there was a shot to the throat, and it’s questionable when and whether he’ll be able to talk again. Doesn’t mean he can’t communicate. But right now I think he’s in a condition where they can’t get any information from him at all.”
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino earlier on the show had said, “We don’t know if we’ll ever be able to question the individual,” but he did not elaborate.
However, a source close to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters News that not only was Tsarnaev shot in the throat, but that he had extensive tongue damage.
The question of whether the gun shot wound may have been self-inflicted in a suicide attempt was raised by David Gregory on “Meet the Press” during his interview with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who said at this time authorities hadn’t commented on that.
While the FBI cannot yet interrogate Tsarnaev, who is in serious but stable condition and heavily sedated, the clock is ticking. Law enforcement has made the decision, because the bombings are acts of terrorism, that Tsarnaev will not be read his Miranda rights. The government has invoked the Public Safety Exception, a designation that allows investigators to question Dzhokhar without reading him his Miranda rights.
Under the Exception, the FBI has the latitude to question him without a lawyer present to ascertain if he had accomplices and if there is a possibility of further acts of terrorism. The Public Safety Exception is not open-ended and there is probably only another 48 hours before his Miranda rights will have to be administered.
Yet as Sen. Coats pointed out there are other ways of communicating than speaking.
Tsarnaev is in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center even as the Boston federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, is at work filing criminal charges against him. The charges may be announced later today, Sunday. (See update above.)
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