WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013 — UPDATE: Tsarnaev facing death penalty. Read: Boston Bomber charged by federal prosecuters, death penalty possible
Even as Boston prepares to stop for a moment of silence today with the tolling of church bells across the city in remembrance of the Boston Marathon bombing and its victims, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is awake and beginning to answer questions by federal investigators.
Shot in the throat in what may have been a suicide attempt, Dzhokhar is unable to speak, but he is now able to communicate in writing to their questions, only 48 hours after his capture, according to NBC News.
His condition remains serious but stable with reports of his tongue being severely damaged by a shot to the mouth that exited the back of his neck. He also has a gunshot wound to the leg. The suspected bomber was found Friday, hiding in a boat, after an all day manhunt by law enforcement in Watertown. The homeowner called 911 after seeing a bloody Dzhokhar lying under the boat’s winter wrap.
While the nature of the exact questions are not known, federal investigators want to learn more details about the twin bombings at the marathon’s finish line that killed three people, injuring more than 170. The big questions are whether Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a fierce gun fight with the police on Thursday night, are part of a larger ring of terrorists, did they have help in planning the attack, and what was the motivation for the bombing. They may also be able to learn if Tamerlan’s visit to Russia last year was the source of the radicalization of the brothers.
The investigators doing the interview with the suspect are known as a “special high value detainee interrogation team,” and they are utilizing the Public Safety Exception, which allows them to not advise Dzhokhar of his Miranda rights, which would let the suspect remain silent and with a lawyer present during their questioning. Such an exception is put into place when it is thought that a high value suspect could have vital information about a threat to public safety.
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz had said yesterday she would file criminal charges against Dzhokhar today.
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