(BOSTON) — For the first time since a pair of bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others in mid-April, the surviving bombing suspect is expected to be in court to hear charges leveled against him on Wednesday.
A probable cause hearing for Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, will be held at 2 p.m. ET at the same South Boston federal courthouse where notorious Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s trial is underway. Authorities told ABC News there will be a heavy police presence around the courthouse as charges contained in a 30-count indictment against Tsarnaev are laid out.
Tsarnaev is charged with killing three people in the April 15 bombing — restaurant manager Krystle Marie Campbell, Boston University student Lingzi Lu and 8-year-old Martin Richard — as well as taking part in the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was fatally shot days after the bombing. Tsarnaev is also charged with causing grievance injury to MBTA police officer Richard Donahue and an assortment of federal terror-related crimes. Tsarnaev was seriously wounded in a firefight with police before he was apprehended.
Families of the slain and bomb victims who suffered amputations, burns and debilitating injuries are expected to attend Wednesday’s proceeding to stare down “the face of evil,” as the mother of two of the severely injured told ABC News.
“It has been incredibly hard to accept what happened to my boys,” said Liz Norden, whose sons Paul and JP each lost a leg in the attack. “I’m angry. I want to be there.”
Tsarnaev is also facing charges stemming from a bomb and bullet battle that he and his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, allegedly engaged in with police in suburban Watertown hours after the FBI released their photographs to the public days after the bombing. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot during the firefight but was also mortally wounded by his brother. According to the indictment against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev unsealed earlier this month, prosecutors revealed that three Watertown Police Officers had tackled Tamerlan Tsarnaev and were trying to handcuff him when Dzhokhar jumped into a vehicle and “drove it directly” at the officers.
“He barely missed Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese, who was attempting to drag Tamerlan Tsarnaev to safety,” the indictment states. “Then Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ran over Tamerlan Tsarnaev, seriously injuring him and contributing to his death.”
The indictment also included a timeline of the terror that erupted along the final stretch of the 26-mile marathon route.
The first blast, prosecutors stated, went off in front of Marathon Sports at 671 Boylston Street at 2:49 p.m. — detonated by Tamerlan Tsarnaev using a cellphone after he received a call from Dzhokhar giving him the okay.
Krystle Campbell was killed in that first explosion, which also resulted in the “maiming” of many others, the indictment states. The second bomb was “detonated by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev” after he placed it in front of the Forum Restaurant. That blast killed the little boy and the BU student, according to the indictment, and seriously injured dozens of others.
Those who survived the finish line blasts were seriously wounded. Among them were 15 victims who lost a limb — including the Norden brothers and Martin Richard’s younger sister, 7-year-old Jane, whose left leg was lost below the knee. Other victims were partially blinded, like the slain boy’s mother Denise Richard, or suffered permanent hearing loss, like Bill Richard, the boy’s father.
As emergency responders and marathon volunteers and runners attended to the wounded, the Tsarnaevs were captured on surveillance videos calmly hustling away from the carnage.
On April 18, the FBI released photographs of the two men — then unidentified — in baseball caps along with a warning that they were “armed and dangerous.”
Once their photos were disseminated, the Tsarnaev brothers “armed themselves with five IEDs, a Ruger P95 semiautomatic handgun, ammunition for the Ruger, a machete, and a hunting knife and drove to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” the indictment says.
That’s where MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was just 35 minutes away from finishing his shift. The indictment says Tamerlan Tsarnaev shot him in the head at “close range” with the Ruger 9mm handgun as his younger brother tried to steal Collier’s service revolver from his gun belt.
After the officer’s murder, the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of carjacking and kidnapping another man. The carjacking victim told police that Tamerlan Tsarnaev pointed a gun at him and said: “Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that,” according to an affidavit filed by FBI agent Daniel R. Genck.
Tamerlan then climbed into the Mercedes SUV and removed the gun’s magazine, showed the driver the round in the chamber, and then reloaded the weapon and added, “I am serious.”
The victim was driven around to collect money from various ATMs but claimed he escaped at a gas station and called 911. Police used that man’s cellphone — left behind in the stolen car — to track the brothers to Watertown where a chase ensued.
During the chase, the brothers hurled two homemade bombs onto Dexter Street at police and then “a gun fight ensued between the car’s occupants and law enforcement officers,” according to Genck’s affidavit.
After Dzhokhar fled the Watertown gun battle just before 1 a.m. ET on April 19, a manhunt was launched in the blue-collar suburb. He was found later that day wounded and bleeding in a boat dry-docked in a Watertown resident’s backyard.
“He had visible injuries, including apparent gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hand,” the affidavit states. The one-time nursing student was carrying his University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth ID card when he was pulled from the boat.
As he hid, Dzhokhar “wrote a message on an inside wall and beams of the boat that said (among other things): ‘We Muslims are one body, you hurt one, you hurt us all,”’ the indictment states.
Massachusetts law enforcement sources told ABC News that one of the “other things” mentioned in the indictment were the words “F— America.” Investigators recovered additional explosives in two cars — the green Honda and the Mercedes SUV — left in Watertown by the Tsarnaev brothers, the affidavit states.
The Tsarnaev family settled in Cambridge after applying for, and receiving asylum, a decade ago, according to testimony from homeland security officials at Congressional hearings in the aftermath of the blast. Congressman William Keating (D-Mass.) was among the federal lawmakers who met with Russian officials in May and told reporters upon his return that a domestic violence arrest prevented Tamerlan Tsarnaev from receiving citizenship, but Dzhokhar became a naturalized U.S. citizen at a ceremony held in Boston on Sept. 11, 2012.
Dzhokhar’s parents are back in Russia living in the Dagestani city of Makhachkala. It is unclear if they have traveled to the United States to attend their son’s court hearing on Wednesday. His mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, has an open arrest warrant in Massachusetts in connection with a shoplifting charge and could be arrested upon her return, prosecutors have said.
Dzhokhar has been held at Fort Devens, where supporters have deposited money into his prison account, he told his mother in a phone call to Russia.
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