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Boston Marathon Bomber Charged, Faces Possible Death Penalty

Boston Deals With Aftermath Of Marathon Explosions
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

On Monday, the Justice Department announced that it was charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with using a weapon of mass destruction that resulted in the deaths of three people at the Boston Marathon last week. If convicted he could face the death penalty or up to life in prison.

Tsarnaev will be tried as a criminal in civilian court, rather than as an enemy combatant in a military tribunal. He was read the charges as he lay in bed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, recovering from injuries sustained on Friday during his battle with police.

The specific charges are “‘using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction’ against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and one count of ‘malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.'”

The documents filed in federal court today include an affidavit by Special Agent Daniel R. Genck of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which provides in exhaustive detail the evidence that law enforcement officials have compiled since the horrific bombings one week ago. In particular, it covers how the suspect carried a bomb in his backpack as he walked down the sidewalk and placed it in front of the metal barrier outside the Forum restaurant.

Soon after, Tsarnaev (referred to as “Bomber Two”) walked away and the bomb exploded:

He walks away without his knapsack, having left it on the ground where he had been standing. Approximately 10 seconds later, an explosion occurs in the location where Bomber Two had placed his knapsack.

You can read a PDF of the full criminal complaint here.

[Justice Dept., N.Y. Times]

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