Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 20-year-old native of Russia's restive
Chechnya region who moved to the United States a decade ago, faces
the possibility of execution if he is convicted of killing three
people and injuring 264 with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker
bombs in the April 15, 2013 attack as well as shooting dead a
university police officer three days later.
Defense attorneys have said they need time to review massive amounts
of evidence collected by the government's investigation into the
bombing. They also may seek to challenge before U.S. District Judge
George O'Toole the death penalty threat.
Last month, prosecutors said they would seek to have Tsarnaev put to
death if he is convicted of charges including use of a weapon of
Tsarnaev, who is being held in a prison west of Boston, has pleaded
not guilty to all charges. His attorneys have not yet said if they
will seek to have his trial moved from U.S. District Court in
Boston, just 2 miles from the spot where the bombs ripped through a
crowd of spectators at the race's crowded finish line.
The trial, which will draw intense international attention, will pit
prosecutors from the office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who last
year convicted gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, against a defense
team including top Boston public defender Miriam Conrad and Judy
Clarke, a death penalty defense specialist from California.
Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, are accused of
planting the bombs, which killed three people including an
8-year-old boy, Martin Richard. Three days after the bombing, FBI
investigators released surveillance photos showing the pair, wearing
baseball caps and carrying backpacks, near the site of the blast.
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That prompted the pair to attempt a hasty escape from Boston.
Authorities say they shot a Massachusetts Institute of Technology
campus police officer in an unsuccessful attempt to steal his
weapon, an incident that sparked a car chase and gun battle with
police that ended with Tamerlan dead.
Dzhokhar escaped that encounter, prompting a day-long lockdown of
most of the Boston area until police found him, hiding in a
dry-docked boat in a suburban backyard, on the evening of April 19.
Three college friends of the defendant are due to go on trial in
June, charged with obstructing the investigation by removing a
laptop and backpack containing fireworks casings from his dorm room
at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, about 60 miles
south of Boston.
In addition to Richard, 8, the marathon bombs killed Krystle
Campbell, 29, and Chinese national Lu Lingzi, 23. Tsarnaev is also
accused in the shooting death of Sean Collier, 27, the university
(Reporting by Scott Malone; editing by David Gregorio)
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