Boston Marathon Bomber Trial LIVE Updates: Dzokhar Tsarnaev Faces 30 Felony Counts
The trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old accused of being a co-conspirator in the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April, is soon to be underway.
A federal grand jury handed down a 30-count indictment that includes killing three marathon spectators and injuring 260 more, murdering one MIT campus security officer, and using weapons of mass destruction. On Wednesday, Tsarnaev appeared in court to plead "not guilty" to all charges.
After pressure-cooker bombs wreaked havoc at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, fled from a frantic four-day police manhunt that prompted a city-wide lockdown.
While Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a furious car chase and a gun battle with police, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev managed to escape on foot. He hid out in a boat parked in a suburban backyard in Watertown until police captured and arrested him on April 19.
If prosecutors choose to pursue it, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty. Legal analysts note that the case will test a broader policy question for America.
"Whether or not [the U.S.] pursues the death penalty in this case — what's the symbolism around that? What does it say about American justice? And how is it used by those around the world?" said CBS national security analyst Juan Zarate.
Meanwhile, the case is also likely to prompt questions surrounding the role of religion in terrorism. Tsarnaev is a Muslim whose family has ties to Chechnya, a former republic of the Soviet Union.
Authorities say that Tsarnaev wrote about his motivations for the bombing on the inside of the boat where he was captured. He scrawled that the United States government was "killing our innocent civilians" and that "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."
It's safe to expect that the trial of Tsarnaev will be long. Prosecutors expect to call "over 100 witnesses" and say that proceedings could last longer than four months.
The next court date for Tsarnaev is set for September 23. Check back here for more live updates on events as they happen.