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.
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.”
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