Boston Marathon bombing suspect charged

Updated: 2013-04-23 02:56


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WASHINGTON - The US Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was charged by federal prosecutors, seven days after the bombings killed three people and injured over 200.

According to the statement by Department of Justice, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old suspect had his initial court appearance Monday afternoon from his hospital room in Beth Israel hospital. He is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property resulting in three deaths and injuries to over 200 people.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect charged

Two-year-old Wesley Brillant of Natick, Massachusetts kneels in front of a memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings near the scene of the blasts on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, April 21, 2013.[Photo/Agencies]

"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," said Holder in the statement.

In the criminal complaint unsealed on Monday in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Tsarnaev, in serious but stable condition, is charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction 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. The charges could authorize a death penalty upon conviction or imprisonment for life.

The White House on Monday said Tsarnaev would not be tried as "an enemy combatant" in a military tribunal, but instead in a federal court.

Speaking at the daily briefing, the White House spokesman Jay Carney called Tsarnaev "a terrorist" and noted that the naturalized US citizen would be prosecuted in the federal court system rather than in military commissions.

"We will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice," said Carney, adding that the federal court system has been used to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists since September 11 attack in 2001.

"The system has repeatedly proven that it can successfully handle the threat that we continue to face," he said.

Carney also stressed that President Barack Obama had been calling for "answers to a number of questions" and warned people not to jump to conclusions.

"Why this was done, what the motivations were, how it was done, any possible associations that the suspects may have had. And all of this is being investigated, and I think that you absolutely can expect that all the agencies involved as part of the broader investigation are examining these issues," said Carney.

Twin explosions occurred on Monday afternoon near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding over 200 others. The FBI identified two brothers, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev, as suspects behind the Boston bombings.

Tamerlan died Friday after a shootout with the police and killing of a police officer. Dzhokar was apprehended Friday night in a suburb of Boston following a massive manhunt by law enforcement authorities. He was rushed to hospital for treatment of serious wounds.