The lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court without their client Monday and asked for more time to prepare a case against the potential use of the death penalty.
Defense attorney Judy Clarke said the prosecution had not presented the defense with all of the evidence it plans to use in the case, making it difficult for the defense to create a solid argument against the death penalty.
Assistant US Attorney William Weinreb countered, saying “six months is a reasonable time” to make a case.
Prosecutors plan to make a recommendation about whether or not to seek the death penalty to the US attorney general by Oct. 31. After the prosecution files its recommendation, Attorney General Eric Holder will have 90 days to make a final decision.
The death penalty is not allowed in Massachusetts, but because the trial is taking place in federal court, the death penalty is an option.
US District Judge George O’Toole said he will review requests that some documents in the case be filed under seal, which would make them inaccessible to the public. Initial charges against Tsarnaev were filed under seal, and other documents, such as medical records could be kept under seal if Judge O'Toole allows it.
Mr. Tsarnaev is accused of exploding a homemade pressure cooker bomb with his brother, Tamerlan, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three, and injuring over 260 people. He is also charged with killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, Sean Collier, when he and his brother were trying to get the officer’s gun. Tamerlan was later killed amid a gun battle with police.
Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen, was eventually found, seriously wounded, in a boat in which he scrawled a note accusing the US government of "killing our innocent civilians," according to prosecutors. Authorities also say he wrote: "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all," according to a report by the AP.
Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to all charges during his arraignment on July 10.
The government expects to call 80 to 100 witnesses, according to the arraignment transcript.
Three of Tsarnaev’s friends appeared in court on Sept. 13, and pleaded not guilty to charges of impeding the federal investigation into the bombings.