Boston bombing suspect won't be tried as enemy combatant - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Tsarnaev won't be tried as enemy combatant; could face death penalty

Law enforcement took Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, into custody Friday following an extensive search, an area shutdown and multiple shootouts. (Source: CNN) Law enforcement took Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, into custody Friday following an extensive search, an area shutdown and multiple shootouts. (Source: CNN)
The FBI turned over the Boston Marathon bombing crime scene back over to the city of Boston on Monday. (Source: FBI) The FBI turned over the Boston Marathon bombing crime scene back over to the city of Boston on Monday. (Source: FBI)

BOSTON (RNN) - The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings said he and his brother acted alone and no terrorist group helped them, according to CNN.

Citing a "government source," the network reported that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said his brother Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police, was the mastermind behind the attack.

Tsarnaev also faced a bedside hearing with a federal magistrate on Monday. The transcript, obtained by the New York Times, shows the suspect was represented by a public defender, was read his Miranda rights, and acknowledged he cannot afford a lawyer. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev acknowledged he understood the proceedings and the charges against him.

Throughout most of the hearing, the suspect answered questions by nodding or shaking his head, until he was asked if could afford an attorney. To that question, he responded verbally with "no," indicating for the first time that the suspect could speak, after he reportedly suffered an injury to his throat.

Officials say he previously had been answering questions in writing because he was unable to speak. There's no word on how well developed his speaking abilities are at this point.

Tsarnaev will not be charged as an enemy combatant, according to an Obama administration official.

Tsarnaev remains in serious condition at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the same facility where a number of the Boston Marathon victims were being treated.

Tsarnaev has been charged with one count of conspiring to use weapon of mass destruction against persons and property in U.S. resulting in death and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.

An affidavit from the U.S. District Court detailed the FBI's investigation report. The charges could result in a death sentence. A probable cause hearing will be May 30.

Investigators told the Associated Press that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, were motivated by religion, and were not working with an organization.

Also Monday, CNN reported the FBI questioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of Russian officials. According to an FBI statement, the request was based on information he was a follower of radical Islam and prepared to leave the U.S. and travel to the region "to join unspecified underground groups."

Investigators are looking into the older brother's six-month stay in southern Russia in 2012 to see whether he had connections with any extremist groups. Following his return to the U.S., he posted videos of terrorists to a YouTube channel; they have been deleted since.

Davis said Monday he did not have information regarding any international aspects of the case, but they were looking at it closely.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tsarnaev, as a naturalized U.S. citizen, cannot be tried by military commission. He added that since Sept. 11, 2001, federal courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists.

Last week, GOP lawmakers requested President Barack Obama use the enemy combatant exception to question Tsarnaev, 19, without a lawyer present. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, tweeted he hoped the administration would consider the move "for intelligence gathering purposes."

In a joint statement Saturday, Graham and Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, said it could be done "under the Law of War."

"Our goal at this critical juncture should be to gather intelligence and protect our nation from further attacks," the senators stated. "We remain under threat from radical Islam and we hope the Obama Administration will seriously consider the enemy combatant option."

As authorities continue the work to uncover why bombs were set off at the Boston Marathon, the FBI turned over the crime scene to the city of Boston on Monday.

Law enforcement took Tsarnaev into custody Friday following an extensive search, an area of Watertown, MA shut down and multiple shootouts. His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during the chase from police less than 24 hours prior to the arrest.

Police commissioner Ed Davis told CNN Monday evidence they found led him to believe the brothers planned another attack.

"The two suspects were armed with handguns at the scene of the shootout and there were multiple explosive devices," Davis said.

According to the affidavit, two men believed to be the brothers carjacked someone Thursday prior to engaging with police and Tamerlan Tsarnaev's death. One of them reportedly told the victim, "Did you hear about the Boston explosion?" and "I did that."

The city of Boston held a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m. ET, the time the bombs ignited at the finish line of the marathon a week ago. Bells chimed for one minute immediately after that.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to the UMass-Dartmouth campus where he attended school in the days between the bombing and the manhunt. Other students recalled him acting normally, seeing him in his dorm, working out at the gym and going to a party with his intramural soccer team.

Two of the people who died in the April 15 bombing had services scheduled for Monday. Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old from Medford, MA, will be laid to rest at a private funeral, and Lu Lingzi, 23, will be honored at a memorial tribute, according to reports.

Davis also told CNN that Richard Donohue Jr., the transit police officer injured during the chase Friday, has improved.

"He was able to communicate through hand signals yesterday," Davis said.

A website has been set up to collect funds for Donohue's recovery at

The marathon finish line was still considered a closed crime scene but could reopen in the next 24 to 48 hours.

The FBI turned over the crime scene to the city of Boston Monday afternoon.

At the ceremony, bagpipes played Amazing Grace in honor of the victims who died.

The mayor of Boston was also presented with a flag that flew at half-staff over the area since last Monday.

"We have a significant amount of evidence that was collected here and now this city, this street is turned back to the city," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

Three people were killed and more than 200 were injured by two explosions within seconds of each other near the finish line of the annual Patriots Day race.

Law enforcement used video and photos taken from the site to identify the Tsarnaev brothers as suspects. Police found them Thursday, hours after the FBI released images of the two from the day of the marathon.

MIT police officer Sean Collier, 26, was killed during the ensuing getaway attempt. After Boston and surrounding towns were shut down for several hours, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat in a Watertown backyard.

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