Dzhokar Tsarnaev Officially Charged With 30 Counts, Could Face Death Penalty


The surviving suspect of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is facing 30 counts of federal indictment for his involvement in the explosion that injured more than 260 bystanders and killed three people, along with a fourth death in a shootout involving Tsarnaev, his older brother Tamerlan, 26, and MIT police officer Sean Collier. Among these charges, which were be announced by the city of Boston in a press conference at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Tsarnaev is being accused of using weapons of mass destruction. 17 of the individual allegations could potentially carry a life sentence, and in some cases, even the death penalty.

On April 19 Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a confrontation with police officers near Watertown, Massachusetts and Dzhokar was found by authorities in a boat in critical condition later that same day. Part of the indictment alleges that the Tsarnaev brothers conspired in creating improvised explosives made out of pressure cookers, black powder, and shrapnel that they had learned how to create through Volume 1 of a Al-Qaeda magazine titled Inspire. These IED's were designed to "shred skin, shatter bone and cause extreme pain and suffering, as well as death," according to the official report.

The court has also put forward that Tsarnaev was inspired by Al-Qaeda publications, having downloaded various extremist Islamist propaganda that instructed Muslims to defy governments who have invaded areas in the Middle East. Among these sources was a book that Tsarnaev downloaded called "Jihad and the Effects on Intention Upon It," which the indictment said, "glorifies martyrdom in the service of violent Jihad."

The Tsarnaev brothers have been living in the U.S. for around a decade, but they have roots in the Russian regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, which are known for acting as recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists.

Tsarnaev also reportedly had left a confession on the side of the boat when he was captured by authorities that was meant to justify his actions. "I don't like killing innocent people ... The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians ... I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished ... We Muslims are one body, you hurt one, you hurt us all," he allegedly wrote. "Stop killing our innocent people, we will stop."

However, the indictment has not made any claims that there was any larger conspiracy organized by the brothers in direct contact with overseas extremists. The court instead believes that much of the stimulus for the Tsarnaevs' radicalization was due to the Internet and various documents posted online.

The full 74-page report has been made available to the public and can be read here.