Federal authorities have charged the Boston Marathon bombing suspect with using a weapon of mass destruction, which is punishable by death, but didn’t deem him an enemy combatant as some had urged.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is expected to be arraigned Monday in his room at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where authorities have said he is listed in serious condition.
“Today’s charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston and for our country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “We’ve once again shown that those who target innocent Americans and attempt to terrorize our cities will not escape from justice.”
The 19-year-old Cambridge man was captured Friday night following a five-day manhunt that ended when the teen was found hiding in a boat in Watertown, Mass.
His 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, was killed in a shootout with police after the duo allegedly gunned down an MIT police officer and carjacked a driver Thursday night.
The bombings last Monday at the Boylston Street finish line left three dead and more than 200 wounded. Investigators have said the suspects made the bombs out of pressure cookers filled with nails, ball bearings and other projectiles.
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) joined fellow Republicans in calling on President Barack Obama to have the surviving Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant, meaning he would be tried in military tribunal instead of civilian court.
“The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans,” King said in a joint statement. “The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status.”
Tsarnaev, a native of the Chechnya region in southern Russia, was granted U.S. citizenship in September. Massachusetts has outlawed the death penalty, but it is still allowed under federal law. He could also be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Carmen Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said she could not disclose what the teen may have said to investigators except to say that they always “seek to elicit all the actionable intelligence and information we can from terrorist suspects.”
Rich Sturges, a 41-year-old Boston school teacher originally from Malverne, was about five blocks from the scene during his second running of the nation’s oldest marathon when the bombs went off second apart.
“It was very stunning,” he told the Press. “It’s not going to be back to normal for a while.”