BOSTON – A federal grand jury today returned a 30-count indictment against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev for his alleged role in using weapons of mass destruction at the Boston Marathon to kill three individuals and maim or seriously injure many others, as well as for using a firearm to intentionally kill Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Police Officer Sean Collier.
Tsarnaev (aka Jahar Tsarni), 19, a U.S. citizen residing in Cambridge, was charged by indictment with use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and conspiracy; bombing of a place of public use resulting in death and conspiracy; malicious destruction of property resulting in death and conspiracy; use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death; carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury; interference with commerce by threats or violence; and aiding and abetting.
The indictment alleges that beginning no later than February 2013 and continuing until Tsarnaev was apprehended on April 19, 2013, Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev conspired to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against people, property, and places of public use. Specifically, the indictment alleges that on April 15, 2013, during the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, the brothers placed IEDs among the crowds of spectators who were cheering the runners towards the Marathon finish line. After placing the IEDs among the crowd, the indictment alleges, Tsarnaev and his brother detonated the bombs seconds apart, killing three people, maiming and injuring many more, and forcing a premature end to the Marathon. The indictment alleges that the IEDs were constructed from pressure cookers, explosive powder, shrapnel, adhesives, and other items, and were designed to shred skin, shatter bone, and cause extreme pain and suffering, as well as death.
The indictment also alleges that on April 18, 2013, the FBI released photographs of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, identifying them as suspects in the Marathon bombings. These photographs were widely disseminated on television and elsewhere. The indictment alleges that hours later on April 18, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, armed with five IEDs, a Ruger P95 semiautomatic handgun, ammunition, a machete, and a hunting knife, drove their Honda Civic to the MIT campus, where they shot and killed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier and attempted to steal his service weapon.
The indictment further alleges that shortly after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother killed Officer Collier, they carjacked a Mercedes, kidnapped the driver, and forced him to drive to a gas station, robbing him of $800 along the way. After the driver managed to escape, the brothers are alleged to have driven the carjacked vehicle to the vicinity of Laurel Street and Dexter Avenue in Watertown, where Watertown police officers located them and tried to apprehend them. The indictment alleges that the brothers fired at the police officers and used four additional IEDs against them. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev then reentered the carjacked vehicle and drove it directly at the officers, running over his brother as he managed to escape. Tsarnaev is alleged to have hidden in a dry-docked boat in a Watertown backyard until his arrest the following night.
Seventeen of the charges authorize a penalty of up to life in prison or the death penalty. The remaining charges authorize a maximum penalty of life in prison or a fixed term of years.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Division; Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Kenneth J. Croke, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement today during a press conference.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Boston Division, Boston Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, and member agencies of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshals Service, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and others. In addition, the Watertown Police Department, the Cambridge Police Department, the MIT Police Department, the Boston Fire Department, the National Guard and police, fire and emergency responders from across Massachusetts and New England played critical roles in the investigation and response.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts' Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit, Nadine Pellegrini, Chief of its Major Crimes Unit, and Trial Attorneys of the U.S. Department of Justice's National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section and its Criminal Division.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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