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Boston Marathon bombing suspect: How many charges will he face?

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is unable to verbally communicate with investigators, but experts say the weight of the evidence against him points to federal terrorism charges.

By Staff Writer / April 22, 2013

Devon Morancie of Littleton, Mass., wears a flag on his back as a crowd gathered outside the funeral for Boston Marathon bombing victim Krystle Campbell at St. Joseph's Church in Medford, Mass., on Monday. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, wounded during his escape, has been unable to answer questions from investigators.

Elise Amendola/AP



Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has yet to provide law enforcement authorities with much information. In large part this is due to medical issues, as he has been drifting in and out of consciousness since his apprehension on Friday evening, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Meanwhile, new circumstantial evidence is filling in a picture of a radicalized older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who perhaps influenced Dzhokhar and brought the latter into the alleged bomb plot. Tamerlan was killed in the brothers’ getaway attempt on Friday.

In January, Tamerlan interrupted a speaker at a Cambridge mosque who compared the prophet Muhammad and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., reports The Boston Globe.

The elder Tsarnaev brother called the speaker at the Islamic Society of Boston mosque a nonbeliever, a “kaffir,” and accused him of contaminating people’s minds.

The congregation did not agree and “shouted him out of the mosque,” Yusufi Vali, a spokesman for the mosque, told the Globe.

Younger brother Dzhokhar may be unable to verbally communicate with investigators even after recovery, as he suffered a wound to the throat area. It’s unclear whether the wound was the result of police gunfire or was self-inflicted as part of a failed suicide attempt.

Authorities indicated that the federal High Value Detainee Interrogation team was standing by to question the surviving Tsarnaev in writing if possible.

Mr. Tsarnaev could be charged at any time. As legal expert Robert Chesney notes on the “Lawfare” blog, law enforcement faces no shortage of possible crimes to use in its indictment. Charges could be state or federal.

“Many if not most will be ordinary violent-crimes charges rather than terrorism-specific ones – though they’ll be no less potent for that,” writes Mr. Chesney.


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