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Boston bombing: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged, could face death penalty

April 22, 2013|By Richard A. Serrano

WASHINGTON -- Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev made his first court appearance from his hospital room in Boston on Monday while being formally charged with using a weapon of mass destruction in the double bombing that killed three people and injured more than 170 others during last week’s Boston Marathon.

In a criminal complaint unsealed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Tsarnaev, 19, was charged with one count of using and conspiring to use an improvised explosive device 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. 

If convicted in federal court, he could face the death penalty or life in prison.

Tsarnaev was charged under federal criminal law, rather than as an enemy combatant, as some critics have urged. It wasn’t immediately clear if he was read his Miranda rights or if he had a defense lawyer present in his hospital room.

“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,” Atty. General Eric Holder said in a written statement.  He added: “Those who target innocent Americans and attempt to terrorize our cities will not escape from justice. We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney in Boston, said the effects of the bombing have been “far-reaching, affecting a worldwide community that is looking for peace and justice.” She added, “the government will always seek to elicit all the actionable intelligence and information we can from terrorist suspects taken into our custody.”

“Much work remains and many questions require answers,” said Rick DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Division. "Today’s charges represent another step on the long road toward justice for the victims of these crimes.”

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richard.serrano@latimes.com

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