Prosecutors charged Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Monday with carrying out last week’s bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon that killed three people (including eight-year-old Martin Richard) and injured more than 200, U.S. officials said. The formal charge, which could carry the death penalty if the 19-year-old Tsarnaev is convicted, was overseen by a magistrate judge at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, a court official said.
Tsarnaev was being treated there, listed in serious condition. The criminal complaint against him said he suffered gunshot wounds to his head, neck, legs, and hand during shoot-outs with police hunting him down last week. “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”, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
Two bombs made from pressure cookers and left in backpacks ripped through the crowded finish line of the famous Boston Marathon road race a week ago.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death, life in prison, or a term of any number of years, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen college student, was unable to speak due to his injuries. But the fact he was charged on Monday meant that he was communicative, because the magistrate judge would have to be satisfied he was aware of the proceedings. Police previously declined to comment on media reports he was communicating with authorities in writing.