Updated January 28 at 6:28pm
justice

Marathon suspect accused of using weapon of mass destruction

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BOSTON – A wounded 19-year-old man was charged by the United States with the bombing of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people, injured more than 170 and set off a four-day manhunt across the metropolitan area while triggering an international investigation.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, according to a filing in Boston federal court on Monday. He’s also charged with malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.

This do not include any potential charges filed by the state of Massachusetts in conjunction with the bombing or the extensive manhunt for Tsarnaev.

If convicted, Tsarnaev faces possible execution in the federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Ind., the same place Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was put to death. Prosecutors may later state whether they intend to seek capital punishment.

“We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday in a statement.

Tsarnaev, whose brother and alleged accomplice died during a shootout with police, had his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler today in his hospital room, where he’s being treated for injuries sustained trying to elude capture.

“Alert and able to respond to the charges,” he agreed to voluntary detention, and a probable-cause hearing was set for May 30, according to the case docket. He was handed over from FBI custody to the U.S. Marshals, and declined to answer bail questions.

Public defender

Assistant Federal Defender William Fick represented Tsarnaev during today’s proceeding. Federal Public Defender Miriam Conrad in Boston will be his lead counsel in the case, which is being prosecuted by Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. Conrad declined to comment on the charges.

The April 15 marathon was shattered when two powerful bombs exploded about 10 seconds apart on a commercial stretch of Boylston Street. The blasts sent shrapnel ripping through spectators near the finish line. An 8-year-old boy, a 29-year- old woman and a Chinese graduate student at Boston University were killed. Many of the injured lost limbs.

Prosecutors cited surveillance video along the marathon route in its criminal complaint as giving them probable cause for the charges. In the complaint sworn out yesterday, FBI Agent Daniel Genck said the video showed Tsarnaev and his brother 11 minutes before the first explosion, carrying large knapsacks as they walked near the marathon route. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be seen stopping in front of a restaurant, putting his bag down and fiddling with his phone, according to the complaint.

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