Wounded Boston suspect answering questions in writing
The only surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombings investigation is reportedly answering authorities' questions in writing, but police may never be able to interview him verbally as he may be too injured to speak.PT2M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2i9nr 620 349 April 22, 2013
Boston bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and could face the death penalty if convicted, the US Department of Justice says.
Tsarnaev, 19, also has been charged with one count of malicious destruction of property by means of deadly explosives over last week's Boston Marathon bombing, which left three dead and 200 wounded.
He is not in good shape.
He was arraigned in his Boston hospital bed, where he remains in a serious condition, amid reports he has been responding to questions in writing because of throat injuries.
Vigil: Candles are lit for those who died in the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent police manhunt. Photo: Reuters
Investigators waiting to interrogate him since his capture on Friday were trying to determine whether his neck wound was a suicide attempt. The injury ''had the appearance of a close-range, self-inflicted style'', a federal law enforcement official said. ''He's not in good shape.''
If convicted, Tsarnaev faces possible execution in the federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana, the same place Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was put to death. Prosecutors may later state whether they intend to seek capital punishment.
''We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law,'' US Attorney General Eric Holder said.
A first court hearing has been set for May 30.
The unsealing of the federal charges against Tsarnaev, a naturalised US citizen of Chechen descenty, came as White House spokesman Jay Carney said he would not be deemed an ‘‘enemy combatant’’.
‘‘We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,’’ Mr Carney said, after some Republicans had said Tsarnaev should have the same status as the ‘‘war on terror’’ detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.
‘‘The system has repeatedly proven that it can successfully handle the threat we continue to face,’’ Mr Carney said, adding that US law forbids trying citizens in military courts.
While authorities won't comment on whether he had been questioned, some media are reporting he is awake and responding to questions.
Boston mayor Thomas Menino said he believed Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, a fellow suspect who was killed in a firefight with police on Friday, were not affiliated with a larger network: ''All of the information that I have, they acted alone, these two individuals, the brothers.''
A law-enforcement official said counter-terrorism agents trained in interrogating ''high-value'' detainees had been waiting to question Mr Tsarnaev at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, where some of the 180 people wounded in the April 15 twin blasts are also being treated. Three people died in the attacks.
In addition to his neck injury, reportedly a gunshot wound through the mouth that exited at the back of his neck, Tsarnaev is said to have been shot in the leg during a shoot-out the night before his arrest. A policeman was killed and another was seriously wounded in the shoot-out. An hours-long manhunt followed.
Boston Police Department Commissioner Ed Davis said the brothers were armed for another attack.
''They had IEDs,'' Mr Davis said, referring to improvised explosive devices. ''They had home-made hand grenades that they were throwing at the officers.
''The scene was loaded with unexploded improvised explosive devices that, actually, we had to point out to the arriving officers and clear the area,'' he said, noting that one IED was found in a Mercedes sports utility vehicle the brothers had abandoned.
''This was as dangerous as it gets in urban policing.''
He said federal authorities were trying to track down how and where the suspects obtained the firearms and explosive devices.
Officials have invoked a ''public safety'' legal exception that will allow them to question Tsarnaev without reading him his so-called Miranda rights to remain silent and to consult a lawyer.
Politicians are also asking why Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who may have been radicalised or trained in the Caucasus, did not raise more flags despite being questioned in 2011. He spent six months there last year.
''Clearly, something happened, in my judgment, in that six-month time frame … I'm very concerned,'' House of Representatives homeland security committee chairman Michael McCaul said.
AFP, New York Times, AP, Reuters