Surviving Marathon bomber formally charged: Could face death penalty

Surviving Marathon bomber formally charged: Could face death penalty

Dzhokhar TsarnaevEarlier this afternoon, the surviving brother of the pair who launched a deadly attack on Boston a week ago today, regained consciousness. In summary fashion, CBS News reports, a magistrate judge conducted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s initial “court appearance” in his hospital room.

Tsarnaev who is listed in serious but stable condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, was unable to speak because of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the throat. He was nevertheless formally charged with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. The crime carries a possible sentence of death.

Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters a short time ago that Tsarnaev will be prosecuted in federal court instead of trying him as an enemy combatant in front of a military tribunal. Under the military system, defendants are not afforded some of the usual U.S. constitutional protections.

Meanwhile, investigators now believe that Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police, were likely planning other attacks. The assumption is based on the discovery of a cache of weapons uncovered in the days since Dzhokhar’s apprehension.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that authorities found an arsenal of homemade explosives after Friday’s gun battle between police and the two suspects.

We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at that scene — the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded and the firepower that they had — that they were going to attack other individuals. That’s my belief at this point.

If that presumption turns out to be correct, it will put the kibosh on arguments being advanced by liberal commentators, including Salon’s Joan Walsh, who wrote today that the brothers more closely resemble young American mass murderers more than they do al Qaeda members.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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