For the first time since he emerged covered in blood from a boat in a Watertown backyard, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will appear in federal court Wednesday in Boston to face charges that he used weapons of mass destruction to kill three people and wound more than 260 others at the Boston Marathon.
Tsarnaev, who is also accused of killing an MIT police officer, faces 30 federal criminal charges, including use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and bombing of a place of public use resulting in death. Authorities allege that the 19-year-old was inspired by Al Qaeda publications and that he left a confession in the boat justifying the bombings as payback for US military action in Muslim countries.
Seventeen of the charges carry the possibility of the death penalty, which hasn’t been applied in Massachusetts in 66 years and has been banned here for state cases since 1984. But because Tsarnaev is charged under federal law, he could face death for his alleged crimes.
The other charges against Tsarnaev carry the possibility of life in prison.
The appearance of the former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student is expected to be brief and under heavy guard. It should answer questions about the extent of injuries he sustained during a firefight with police the night before he was captured and how much he has recovered over the past 2½ months. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev
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