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.”