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Boston Marathon bombing suspect hit with 30-count indictment
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with using weapons of mass destruction — and could face the death penalty
Charges against suspected bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could result in life in prison or the death penalty.
Charges against suspected bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could result in life in prison or the death penalty. AP Photo/vk.com
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oston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been formally indicted by state and federal prosecutors. The 30-count indictment charges Tsarnaev with using weapons of mass destruction, car-jacking, and illegal use of a firearm during a violent crime. Seventeen of the charges carry the possibility of the death penalty.

The indictment accuses Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan of planning the attack as early as February and downloading bomb-making instructions from an al Qaeda magazine.

"What we allege is that they took these acts as a measure of protest against what they viewed as actions by the United States in foreign countries," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said at a press conference on Thursday.

While hiding in a boat in Watertown, Mass., as police hunted for him, Tsarnaev wrote, "The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians" and "I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished," according to the indictment.

Tsarnaev, 19, will be represented by a stellar defense team headed by Judy Clarke, the anti-death-penalty attorney who also represented Ted Kaczynski, Jared Loughner, and Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph.

Three people died and more than 260 people were injured after two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a subsequent shootout with police.

"I want to state that the indictment is just a set of charges that will start this legal process," Ortiz said. "These are allegations. I want to stress that the defendant is presumed innocent."

Whether or not the prosecution pursues the death penalty will be up to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Ortiz said. The arraignment is scheduled for July 10 in Boston.

Here is the full indictment:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: Federal Grand Jury Indictment

Keith Wagstaff is a staff writer at TheWeek.com covering politics and current events. He has previously written for such publications as TIME, Details, VICE, and the Village Voice.

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