Middlesex County Prosecutors Win Bid to Arraign Accused Marathon Bomber in MIT Shooting

[BU News Service Full Coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings]

(BU News Service & CNN Wire) — Middlesex County prosecutors won a default warrant for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Monday morning in Middlesex Superior Court allowing the Massachusetts prosecutors to arraign the accused Boston Marathon bomber on charges of murdering an MIT police officer in Cambridge last April.

Tsarnaev is in federal custody for allegedly planting the bombs that exploded at the marathon finish line, killing three and wounding more than 260. The 20-year-old could face the death penalty if convicted.

Back in June, Tsarnaev was indicted by a county grand jury for Officer Sean Collier’s murder.

A statement released by District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office said, “It is the intention of the Middlesex District Attorney that the defendant stand trial for these charges in Middlesex County.”

Tsarnaev will likely not appear in state court until after his federal trial is complete.

Earlier this month, Tsarnaev’s lawyers asked a federal judge to ease the restrcitions on Tsarnaev at the prison in Fort Devens. The lawyers claim keeping Tsarnaev in solitary confinement isolates him from his family and legal team, and is an “unlawful and unwarranted” measure.

The court filing further argued that “The government has not alleged that Mr. Tsarnaev has done or said anything since his arrest to commit violence, incite violence, or engage in communications that pose a security threat.”

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, are accused of planting pressure-cooker bombs that exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police in Watertown on April 19.

Here is a look at what you need to know about the Boston Marathon terror attack:

On April 15, 2013, double bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured at least 264.


  • Martin Richard, 8, a student at Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston.
  • Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Massachusetts.
  • Lingzi Lu, a graduate student at Boston University. She was originally from China.

Other Facts:

  • The bombs exploded 12 seconds apart near the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street.
  • According to Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, the bombs contained BB-like pellets and nails.
  • One of the bombs was contained in a pressure cooker, hidden inside a black backpack, according to the FBI.
  • The FBI says that the second bomb was also in a metal container, but they have not yet determined if it was also in a pressure cooker.
  • The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning in 2004 about pressure cooker bombs. Instructions for making this type of explosive are widely available on the Internet.


April 15, 2013 – At approximately 2:50pm, two bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The bombs explode within 8-12 seconds of each other, about 50-100 yards apart.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac announces that federal authorities have imposed temporarily flight restrictions over central Boston. The restrictions bar air traffic below 3,000 feet for two nautical miles around the bombing site (reduced from three) and do not affect commercial air traffic at the city’s international airport.

At 6:10 p.m., President Barack Obama speaks to reporters at the White House, “We will find out who did this. We’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”

April 16, 2013 – President Obama, speaking at the White House at 11:30 a.m., describes the bombings as an act of terrorism.

Frederic Wittman, chairman of the board of trustees of the Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston, confirms that one of the people killed is 8-year-old Martin Richard. Richard’s sister and mother are hospitalized with serious injuries.

Michael McGlynn, mayor of Medford, Massachusetts confirms that one of the people killed in the attack is 29-year-old Krystle Campbell.
Boston University and the Chinese consulate in New York confirm that the third victim is a female graduate student from China. At the request of her parents, her name is not released at that time.

Officials confirm that there were only two bombs, despite earlier reports that other unexploded devices had been found.
Authorities including bomb experts search an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts, and remove items. Officials caution that there are no clear suspects — and the motive remains unknown.

April 17, 2013 – A federal law enforcement official tells CNN that the lid to a pressure cooker thought to have been used in the bombings has been found on a rooftop at the scene.

The name of the third victim is released by Boston University: Lingzi Lu, a graduate student studying math and statistics.
Purported miscommunications between government officials lead several news organizations, including CNN, to report prematurely that a suspect had been arrested and was in custody.

April 18, 2013 – President Obama attends an interfaith memorial service inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. About 2,000 people fill the cathedral, “The Boston Globe” reports, with about half the seats reserved for the public. The audience also includes scores of police officers and other first responders.
Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, considered the world’s foremost expert on victim compensation, is announced as the administrator of The One Fund Boston, a fund to assist individuals affected by the attacks.

At a press conference, the FBI releases pictures of two male suspects they are seeking in connection with the bombings.
Late in the evening, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer named Sean Collier is shot and killed on campus, allegedly by the bombing suspects.

April 19, 2013 – In the early morning hours, the suspected bombers allegedly hijack a car in Cambridge. The driver is released about 30 minutes later. As the police chase the suspects, the car’s occupants throw explosives out the windows and exchange gunfire with officers. One of the suspected bombers is apprehended, but authorities say the other suspect retrieves a vehicle and runs over him as police attempt to handcuff him. The suspect is wounded and later dies at Beth Israel Hospital. He had bullet wounds and injuries from an explosion according to officials.

Boston police identify the bombing suspects as 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, brothers from Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are of Chechen origin and legally immigrated to the U.S. at different times. Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been identified as the person killed in the encounter with police earlier in the morning, while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, remains at large.

Throughout the day, hundreds of law enforcement officers go door-to-door on 20 streets in Watertown, looking for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who authorities believe is still in Massachusetts. Boston-area residents are asked by authorities to stay inside as the hunt continues for the suspect.

Between 6 and 7 p.m., Watertown resident David Henneberry goes out for air and to inspect his boat soon after the lockdown is lifted, and “saw a man covered with blood under a tarp.”

8:15 p.m. – Authorities announce they have a person they believe to be Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cornered on a boat in a yard in Watertown, Massachusetts. At some point, law enforcement agents are able to seize the suspect. He is transported to a local hospital in “serious condition.”

April 20, 2013 – A Justice Department official tells CNN that federal terrorism charges against Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be filed soon, even as he remains hospitalized. The 19-year-old could also face murder charges at the state level. There is no death penalty in Massachusetts, but Tsarnaev could face that punishment at the federal level.

April 22, 2013 – Tsarnaev is charged by the U.S. government with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.

May 1, 2013 – Three 19-year-olds are arrested in connection with the bombings. The three men are accused of helping bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after the bombing. Federal prosecutors say Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Robel Phillipos took items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room after the bombing to throw investigators off their friend’s trail. Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev are foreign nationals charged with obstruction of justice, they were both initially held on unrelated visa issues. Phillipos is an American citizen and is charged with lying to federal agents.

May 2, 2013 – The body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev is claimed, and is picked up by a funeral home, according to Terrel Harris, spokesman for the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

May 6, 2013 – Robel Phillipos is released into his mother’s custody on $100,000 bail.

May 9, 2013 – Tamerlan Tsarnaev is buried in a Muslim cemetery in Doswell, Virginia. This is after cemeteries in Massachusetts and elsewhere refuse to allow his burial.

May 22, 2013 – An FBI agent shoots and kills Ibragim Todashev in Orlando, Florida while questioning the Chechen about his relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev after cell phone records connect the two. Todashev tells the agent that Tsarnaev participated in a 2011 gruesome triple homicide that was drug related. The confrontation between the FBI agent and Todashev turns violent after Todashev lunges at the agent with a weapon.

July 10, 2013 – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleads not guilty to 30 federal charges related to the April attacks.

July 18, 2013 – In response to a Rolling Stone magazine cover, Police Sgt. Sean Murphy releases photos of a bloody Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the day of his capture.

August 13, 2013 – Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov plead not guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with intent to impede authorities.

August 19, 2013 – The testimony of the trauma surgeon who treated Tsarnaev is unsealed, revealing the extent of his wounds, including multiple gun shot wounds that pierced the base of his skull, mouth and vertebrae. Unsealed documents also reveal that Tsarnaev was not read his Miranda rights until three days after he was detained.

September 13, 2013 – Robel Phillipos pleads not guilty to making false statements to federal officials, and Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov reenter their not guilty pleas. Tamerlan Tsarneav’s in-laws appear before a federal grand jury in Boston. Details of the four-hour session are not immediately released.


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