In the first indication of a tactic that lawyers may use to defend Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, his legal team won permission Friday to have the 19-year-old periodically photographed in prison to document his recovery, in an effort to challenge whether his initial statements to investigators were made voluntarily.
Defense lawyers, in arguments made public in a federal judge’s ruling on Friday, argued that the photographs, contrasted with images of him shortly after his capture, would provide evidence of his “evolving mental and physical state” since that time, and call into question his ability to make any admissions of guilt to authorities.
By underscoring his weakened condition shortly after his arrest, images of his improved health could also bolster the defense’s arguments against the death penalty, a federal judge ruled.
“It is true that photographs may provide probative evidence to support sentence mitigation arguments,” US Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler wrote in a five-page decision.
Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, are accused of planting the bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260 at the Marathon finish line on April 15. The brothers are also accused of killing MIT police Officer Sean Collier.
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