On Thursday Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was indicted on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction, resulting in death, according to the Huffington Post. A federal grand jury has indicted the suspect on 30 counts, including killing 4 people and bombing a place of public use.
The horrific event occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The public space was filled with runners and onlookers, with plenty of potential victims. When the bombs exploded more than 260 people were injured in the explosions. This was the largest mass casualty attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001. The events were planned and perpetrated along with Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan, who was killed in a violent police shootout on April 19.
The April 15 bombing was followed by the shooting of a campus police officer in Cambridge, a carjacking and a late night shootout with police in the nearby suburb of Watertown. In that late night gunbattle, the other perpetrator, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed. Afterwards the entire city Boston was locked down. That evening the surviving bomber was found hiding in a boat in a resident’s backyard, according to Reuters.
The explosions that caused the damage were pressure cooker bombs, which seemed to have become quite famous recently, perhaps due to their ease of creation and the ease of information sharing. The preparation for the attack started months before, when older brother bomber Tamerlan traveled to New Hampshire to buy mortar shells which carried 8 pounds of explosive powder.
Tragically three individuals died at the explosion site at the marathon. One was a child, 8 year old Martin Richard, along with 23 year old graduate student Lingzi Lu and 29 year old restaurant manager Krystie Campbell.
Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts said, “today’s charges reflect the serious and violent nature of the event. We will do all that we can to pursue justice, not only on their behalf but also on behalf of all of us.”
At this point there is a possibility that Tsarnaev can face execution. The death penalty may be sought in this case. According to Reuters, legal experts said that while the large scale of the attack could motivate the government to seek the death penalty, his defense could argue that he did not fully understand his actions.
“There will be claims about his youth, his role, the theory that it was his brother that was pulling all the strings and that this guy was a secondary mover,” commented Richard Broughton, former federal prosecutor and assistant professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Ultimately we will see how the situation unravels. It is surprising to see the immediate family of the bombers deny vehemently the situation, while Americans lay dead. Certainly the nation will be watching how this unfolds closely.