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Boston Bomber Appears in Federal Court
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Marc Fucarlie outside the Boston courthouse earlier this year.

Summary: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in a federal court in Boston on Thursday. No rulings were made, but a judge will issue a written opinion ruling upon several pending motions.

NBC News reports that the man allegedly involved in setting off a bomb at the 2013 Boston Marathon appeared in court on Thursday. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, will face trial next month for charges he faces related to the bombings. Tsarnaev entered the courtroom in handcuffs under heavy security and informed the court that he was satisfied with his attorneys. Tsarnaev is charged with 30 federal courts for his alleged role in the attack, which killed three people and injured over 260 more individuals.


Tsarnaev donned grey pants with a black sweater vest and tie for the hearing. The appearance in the federal courthouse in Boston was his first since July 2013. Judge George O’Toole Jr. asked Tsarnaev if he was kept informed of the status of his case, and Tsarnaev responded, “Yes, Your Honor.” When asked as to whether his attorneys were representing him adequately, Tsarnaev answered, “They are.”

Jury selection for the trial will begin on January 5 and may take up to a month. It is predicted that the trial will last several months. If convicted, Tsarnaev may be sentenced to death.

The jury pool is comprised of at least 1,200 jurors. Both the prosecution and the defense have submitted proposed questions for jury selection. The defense previously moved to hold the trial outside of Boston, citing public sentiment, but has been unsuccessful.

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Read about the request to transfer venue here.

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San Francisco Gate adds that a group of protestors was present outside the courthouse, holding signs that showed support for Tsarnaev. The group was doubtful that police have sufficient proof that Tsarnaev is behind the attack. Marc Fucarile, who lost his right leg due to injuries he suffered in the bombings, held up his prosthetic leg and waved it back and forth to the protestors, arguing, “That’s proof right there.” One protestor responded, “You should care that they get the right guy.” Fucarile then retorted, “Get a life, lady. Go to work.”

No rulings were handed down in Thursday’s hearing. Judge O’Toole said that a ruling would be issued in writing on pending motions before the court, including the defense’s request to transfer the trial outside of Boston. Previously, Judge O’Toole said that the defense had failed to demonstrate that media coverage of the attacks had caused such prejudice within the jury pool that an impartial jury could not be chosen in the Boston area. Tsarnaev’s attorneys had requested that the trial be moved to Washington, D.C.

David Bruck is one of Tsarnaev’s attorneys. Bruck told the court that the defense will file a motion to delay the trial, although he did not say what sort of delay the defense is seeking.

Survivors of the attack were questioned about the death penalty.

Elena Teyer, the mother-in-law of Ibragim Todoshev cried out to Tsarnaev in Russian in the courtroom. Teyer later said that she told Tsarnaev, “We pray for you. Be strong, my son. We know you are innocent.” A month after the attacks, police were questioning Todoshev about the possible involvement of Tsarnaev’s older brother in a triple homicide. Todoshev was shot and killed by the officers after they alleged he lunged at them with a knife. Later, they said he lunged at them with a pole. Todoshev’s family has said the police’s account is inaccurate.

Last June, Tsarnaev was indicted for 30 federal charges.

After the hearing, Teyer yelled at police officers who were escorting her out of the courtroom: “Stop killing innocent people. Stop killing innocent boys.”

Tsarnaev did not acknowledge the cries. At his previous court appearance, Tsarnaev was visibly banged up from a standoff with police officers that led to his arrest and the death of his older brother, Tamerlan. Tsarnaev’s left arm was in a cast, his face was swollen, and his jaw appeared to be injured.

Judge O’Toole also denied a request from the defense regarding the triple killing that Tamerlan was suspected to be involved in. The judge rejected a request that prosecutors provide evidence about Tamerlan’s possible involvement in that incident. Prosecutors have stated that Todoshev informed authorities that Tamerlan participated in the triple homicide in Waltham. The victims were found with their throats slashed and marijuana was scattered over the bodies.

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