The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death. According to a press release from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s office, the criminal complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the charges carry a maximum penalty of death.
No charges related to the death of MIT police officer Sean A. Collier were presented at the time.
19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the suspect, was charged during a hearing in his hospital room, having regained consciousness since his arrest.
According to the court transcript, Tsarnaev was informed of his right to not incriminate himself and was assisted by William Fick from the federal public defender’s office. Most of his answers came in the form of nods due to a wound in his neck that inhibited speech. The federal magistrate found him mentally competent and scheduled another hearing for May 30.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, are believed to be responsible for last Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 180 others, as well as the fatal shooting of Collier on campus Thursday night. The elder brother died after a shootout with the police early Friday morning.
The filed complaint revealed several new details about the case from the affidavit of FBI Special Agent Daniel R. Genck. According to Genck, persons closely resembling the Tsarnaev brothers were seen in several pieces of security footage leaving knapsacks on the ground. One of the two suspects is seen using his cellphone just seconds before the first explosion and is the only one in the crowd who does not turn his head or visibly react to the explosion; instead, he moves away calmly. Genck said he believes this suspect to be Dzhokhar.
The complaint also said that one of the suspects said to the carjacking victim on Thursday, “Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that,” and then forced the victim pick up the other suspect at gunpoint. The victim escaped after being forced to drive to a gas station. According to the filing, the victim’s vehicle was then located in Watertown where the occupants engaged police with guns and at least two small explosive devices. One of the two suspects, later identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during the incident.
Boston Police announced at 8:45 p.m. on Friday that Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, had been taken into custody after an intense manhunt, ending the threat to public safety. He was found with multiple gunshot wounds in a boat parked at a Watertown residence.
The complaint said that the FBI seized clothing from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth that matched the attire of the second suspect on the marathon security footage.
The complaint made no mention of the fatal shooting of Collier prior to the carjacking.
According to the Boston Herald, the spokesperson for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office said that Collier was not responding to any incident before he was shot, contrary to previous reports. The office believes that he was “assassinated” by the bombing suspects.
According to MIT police chief John DiFava, MIT and Cambridge police officers paired up to patrol campus while Tsarnaev was still at large.
Most local colleges, including MIT, closed on Friday. A Cambridge alert shortly before 6:30 a.m. encouraged residents to stay home and businesses to close. Many streets and buildings were eerily empty. The emergency state at MIT was lifted at 9:24 p.m. after the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Joanna Kao contributed reporting.