Boston Marathon suspect Tsarnaev charged with using weapon of mass destruction

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Federal authorities charged the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing with using a “weapon of mass destruction,” a charge that could trigger the death penalty.

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged at his bed in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he is recovering from wounds sustained during an extended day of shootouts and chases on April 19 that left most of the Boston area in lockdown.

Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, 26, was killed in one of the encounters that day.

The brothers were identified as suspects after authorities reviewed photos and video taken on the afternoon of the marathon on April 15, when two bombs killed three people and wounded scores.

A number of Republicans in Congress had demanded that Tsarnaev be charged as an enemy combatant, which would deprive him of some defendant rights.

Tsarnaev, who immigrated from Russia and who is of Chechen origin, is a U.S. citizen and was reportedly preoccupied by Russian persecution of the Chechen minority. 

Tamerlan Tsarnaev had, according to accounts by acquaintances, friends, family and in social media, in recent years attached himself to extremist Islamist causes.

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