Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old charged with the homicide of four people in April, is due in court today at Boston's U.S. District Courthouse. The Chechnyan immigrant is accused of killing three people by remotely detonating bombs made from pressure cookers and later murdering a MIT campus officer. If convicted, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty.
The two explosions, which occurred on April 15 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, injured 264 in addition to killing an 8-year-old boy, a 23-year-old graduate student and a 29-year-old woman. While the city was put on lockdown, authorities managed to track down the fleeing Tsarnaev and his brother by the GPS locator on the car they hijacked. Dzhokhar’s brother, Tamerlan, older by seven years, was shot and killed by authorities before being run over by Dzhokhar, who fled the scene.
Security outside the courthouse was even tighter than usual with the ongoing high profile case of mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger. Dozens of armed cars and officers patrolled the building with bomb sniffing dogs.
The defense will likely appear briefly, pleading guilty in the face of overwhelming incriminating evidence. Before hijacking a car, the brothers informed the driver they had committed the bombings and the murder of an officer. While hiding in Watertown, the wounded Dzhokhar scrawled a note on the walls and beams of the boat he hid in saying, “The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians. We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all ... Now I don't like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said it is allowed ... Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop."
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To avoid the death penalty, defense attorney Miriam Conrad is expected to depict Dzhokhar as an impressionable teen, radicalized by his brother.