Terror charges have been formally filed against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old suspected of helping carry out the bomb attack last week's Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more then 200 others.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Tsarnaev has been charged with "using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, resulting in the death of three people and injuries to more than 200 people."
Tsarnaev made his made initial appearance before magistrate judge in his hospital bed at the heavily-guarded Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he remains in serious condition. According to a federal official, Tsarnaev is sedated and unable to speak.
Tsarnaev one count of "using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (namely, an improvised explosive device or IED) 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." If convicted, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston, the judge advised Tsarnaev of his rights and the charges against him. Tsarnaev declined to answer bail questions and agreed to a probable cause hearing, set for May 30, 2013. "Court is satisfied that the defendant is alert and able to respond to the charges," the criminal complaint unsealed Monday read. Tsarnaev is now in the custody of U.S. Marshals.
“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. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with each of the bombing victims and brave law enforcement professionals who lost their lives or suffered serious injuries as a result of this week’s senseless violence. Thanks to the valor of state and local police, the dedication of federal law enforcement and intelligence officials, and the vigilance of members of the public, we’ve once again shown that those who target innocent Americans and attempt to terrorize our cities will not escape from justice. We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tsarnaev would not be held as enemy combatant.
Tsarnaev was brought by ambulance to the facility after he was captured in Watertown, Mass., on Friday, following an intense manhunt that included at least two shootouts with police and ended with the bloodied suspect taken into custody from a tarp-covered boat he had been hiding in. He apparently suffered gunshot wounds to the neck and leg.
Tsarnaev's 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, the other suspect wanted by the FBI, was killed during a late-night firefight with police in Watertown. Tsarnaev managed to escape on foot, prompting a citywide lockdown as police conducted a house-by-house search for the alleged killer.
The Tsarnaev brothers, who were born in the former Russian territory known as Kyrgyzstan and are of Chechen descent, lived in Cambridge, Mass., for several years. Dzhokhar became a naturalized American citizen last year.
Under U.S. law, authorities had 72 hours after Tsarnaev's arrest to file a criminal complaint against him.