Boston bomber charged by federal prosecutors, death penalty possible

More charges are possible as case moves forward. Photo: Suspected Boston bombers: now deceased Tamerlan (l) and Dzhokhar (r) AP photo

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2103 — Federal prosecutors just charged the Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, as he lay in his hospital bed, with one count of terrorism with WMD, weapons of mass destruction, and one count of malicious destruction of property, resulting in death. The latter charge carries with it the death penalty.

Massachusetts has no death penalty law, but the federal government, which is prosecuting this case, can seek the death penalty.

The charges include visual as well as descriptive evidence, including a video of  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, described as Bomber 2, putting down his knapsack just after the first blast took place. While the crowd turns to look at the blast, he calmly places the bomb and walks away.

Descriptions of the bombs used and the ones found at the shootout on Thursday night, which resulted in his brother Tamerlan’s death, are the same, including the same brand of pressure cooker. There are also details of the hijacking of the car, demands of money from the driver, who remains anonymous, and the use of his ATM card.

According to Fox News, the suspect “made an initial appearance in front of a federal magistrate judge at the hospital where he is still being treated,” but no plea was entered. 

“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,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

SEE RELATED: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as enemy combatant: Hating the Constitution

These are only the preliminary charges, but they are enough to move the case forward. The next step is file a grand jury indictment, required in felony, which the Marathon bombing is. More charges can be added as the case moves forward.

The White House has said Tsarnaev will not be treated as an enemy combatant, despite calls from key Republicans to do so. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says, “We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice.”

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe


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