Skip to main content

Boston bomb suspect pleads not guilty

By Deborah Feyerick. Ross Levitt, and Matt Smith, CNN
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Thu July 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Tsarnaev appeared to have "no remorse whatsoever," witness says
  • NEW: About 30 bomb survivors were in court to watch his arraignment
  • Boston Marathon suspect pleads not guilty to 30 counts, including 4 killings
  • One of the victims was an 8-year-old boy

Boston (CNN) -- Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faced more than two dozen survivors of that attack Wednesday as he pleaded not guilty to killing four people and wounding more than 200.

Tsarnaev is charged with 30 federal counts stemming from the April 15 attack, when a pair of bombs went off near the finish line of the packed course. Three people died in the blasts, including an 8-year-old boy, while a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed three days later at the start of the dramatic chase that led to Tsarnaev's capture.

MIT police lined up outside the courthouse as the hearing neared its end Wednesday afternoon in a show of solidarity with their fallen comrade, Sean Collier. Inside, about 30 survivors of the attack watched as Tsarnaev appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler.

It was the first time he had been seen in public since his arrest. The 19-year-old was dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, his hair long and shaggy, his left arm in a cast. He was wounded in the pursuit -- during which his brother, Tamerlan, was killed -- and he appeared to have an injury to the left side of his face.

Tsarnaev looks at spectators in court
Tsarnaev 'seemed disinterested' in court
Inside the Tsarnaev court hearing
A young runner, left, stops by a Boston church blocks away from the scene of the bombings. The blasts exploded near the Boston Marathon's finish line on Monday, April 15, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others. See all photography related to the Boston bombings. A young runner, left, stops by a Boston church blocks away from the scene of the bombings. The blasts exploded near the Boston Marathon's finish line on Monday, April 15, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others. See all photography related to the Boston bombings.
Boston: The aftermath of terror
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Boston: The aftermath of terror Boston: The aftermath of terror

Tsarnaev looked back at the spectators in the packed courtroom before entering his plea -- and to Liz Norden, whose two sons each had a leg amputated after the attacks, he appeared to smirk.

"He did have some family members in the courtroom, so I don't know," Norden told CNN. "But to me it was, like, no remorse whatsoever."

Suspect: Boston attack was payback for hits on Muslims

Norden said her sons "really don't want to hear about it," but she said she had to be in court for them.

"I want to see what happened to my family that day," she said. "I watch my boys struggle every day, and it breaks my heart. And I just want to see who or why it happened and who caused it."

Tsarnaev faces a total of 30 federal charges in the bombings and subsequent pursuit through the streets of suburban Boston. He appeared in court for arraignment.

Prosecutors said Wednesday they expect to call between 80 and 100 witnesses in a three- to four-month trial.

Tsarnaev was found in a motorboat dry-docked in the backyard of a Watertown, Massachusetts, home, covered in blood from bullet wounds sustained during a manhunt that brought Boston to a standstill.

Victims and their families tend to appear in person at trials at two key moments, said CNN legal analyst Paul Callan: at the arraignment and at the verdict and sentencing.

"It's not something they want to watch on television. They want to be there," he said.

The death penalty

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is confident about getting a conviction, he told the Boston Herald on Tuesday. "We should lock him up and throw away the key."

But that won't be enough for many victims and their families. And prosecutors will likely go for the death penalty. Seventeen of the charges offer that possibility.

Last bombing victim leaves hospital

Callan said Tsarnaev's lawyers could argue that he was under the "mesmerizing influence" of Tamerlan, his older brother. But Callan believes one piece of evidence will make it easy for prosecutors to shoot down that argument: While he lay bleeding in the motorboat, covered with a tarp, the younger Tsarnaev apparently scrawled his motive for his alleged deeds onto its sides.

"The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians," it read. "I can't stand to see such evil unpunished."

"We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."

"Now I don't like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said (unintelligible) it is allowed."

Timeline: The bombing, manhunt and investigation

"Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop."

"That would indicate that he was not under his brother's influence, that he had an independent thought process and dedication to this movement on his own," Callan said.

Prosecutors will use the writings to argue intent -- that Tsarnaev knew what he was doing.

Indictment blow by blow

Tsarnaev is charged with killing three spectators in the bombings and a MIT police officer ambushed in his cruiser a few days later. He also is accused of "maiming, burning and wounding scores of others," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz has said.

But that is merely a handful of the charges.

Add to those use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, deadly bombing of a public place, use of a firearm during a crime of violence causing death, carjacking, bodily harm. The list goes on.

The indictment details the planning that allegedly went into the attacks. Tamerlan Tsarnaev bought 48 mortars, it says.

It also says that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev downloaded a copy of Inspire magazine, which included instructions on building IEDs using pressure cookers and explosive powder from fireworks.

Pressure cooker bombs were used in the Boston Marathon attacks.

Three days after the attacks, on April 18, the FBI released photographs of the brothers, identifying them as bombing suspects.

Hours later, they drove their Honda Civic to the MIT campus, where they shot and killed Collier and attempted to steal his service weapon, the indictment says. They were allegedly armed with five IEDs, a Ruger P95 semiautomatic handgun, ammunition, a machete and a hunting knife.

The indictment alleges that late that night, the brothers carjacked a Mercedes in Boston using guns.

Soon after, police discovered the Tsarnaevs at an intersection in nearby Watertown, where they tried to apprehend them, but the brothers fired at the police and used four IEDs against them, the 74-page indictment alleges.

Police tackled the elder brother and were trying to handcuff him when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev got back into the Mercedes and drove it at the officers, according to the indictment. He wound up running over his brother, "contributing to his death."

The younger Tsarnaev escaped, abandoned the car nearby and hid in the boat, where he remained until the owner noticed him and called police.

Health improved

In late May, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was allowed to have a phone conversation with his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, who lives in the Russian republic of Dagestan.

She recorded it and played it back to CNN affiliate ITN, based in Britain.

She asked whether he was in pain.

"No, of course not. I'm already eating and have been for a long time," Dzhokhar told her.

He assured her that he was getting much better.

Deborah Feyerick and Ross Levitt reported from Boston; Matt Smith wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Ben Brumfield contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Boston Marathon Bombings
Survivors of three earlier bombings describe their journeys forward — and offer poignant words for those just one year away from the day that changed their lives.
updated 2:15 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
"United, we will always persevere." That was the message Massachusetts shared on the anniversary of twin bombings that turned last year's Boston Marathon from a celebration into a day of horror.
updated 2:47 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
I'm running it to make a simple statement: Acts of cowardice will not stop me from exercising my rights as an athlete and a human.
updated 3:40 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Many of those whose lives were shattered are still struggling to put the pieces back together. Here are some of the victims, as well as larger funds, who continue to need your support.
updated 11:22 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
As April 15 approaches, the fact that we tell time in circles brings us to remember the attack on the Boston Marathon one year ago.
updated 10:47 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
CNN's Bill Weir talks to Carlos Arredondo about helping those injured immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing.
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
By running in response to the tragedy, we weren't attempting to negate the irreparable harm done to the people of Boston last year. We wanted to do something, anything, to try to process it.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
All of our assumptions have turned out to be wrong. Here are four things we've learned since then:
updated 4:17 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been frozen in the public mind by four images.
updated 7:22 PM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
Adrianne Haslet-Davis' life as a dancer was shattered last year at the Boston Marathon bombings.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
A man who lost both legs in the Boston Marathon attack is engaged to the woman he was waiting for at the finish line.
updated 10:21 AM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
Mistaken identity in the hospital added to her family's grief.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
The slain MIT cop "was born to be a police officer."
updated 10:37 PM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
The graduate student from China followed her passion to Boston.
updated 1:10 AM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
Almost a year ago, 8-year-old Martin Richard wrote four simple words on a sign at school: No more hurting people.
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
Mery Daniel couldn't wait for Marathon. It was one of the things the aspiring doctor and Haitian immigrant loved most about living in Boston.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
After twin blasts shook Boston -- killing three and wounding more than 260 others -- investigators sprung into action looking for those responsible.
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Sun April 28, 2013
The black Mercedes SUV sped down Spruce Street going about 70 mph, the driver struggling to maintain control. The vehicle had a busted headlight and flat tire.
Click through our galleries of the Boston Marathon bombing, from perspectives on the attack to the suspects, as well as the manhunt and celebrations in Boston after both suspects were found.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT