Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Begins Trial, Victims Allowed in Courtroom to Watch Proceedings
By Maxine Wally | Jul 10, 2013 01:44 PM EDT
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to appear in federal court Wednesday, in his first public display since he emerged from the belly of a boat in Watertown, his face smeared with blood.
Tsarnaev is currently charged with the assembly and use of weapons of mass destruction to set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon-explosions that killed three people, wounded more than 260 others, and led to a state-wide, 24-hour manhunt for Dzhokhar and his brother,Tamerlan.
According to the Boston Globe, Tsarnaev also faces charges for the killing of an MIT police officer, in addition to the 30 federal charges he is up against, including bombing of a place of public use resulting in death.
Some authorities claimed that the former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student used Al-Qaeda propaganda as inspiration for what he called payback for United States military presence in the Middle East-details he expounded upon in his confession letter left on the boat he used as a hiding spot.
Tsarnaev could receive the death penalty on 17 of those charges-execution has not been employed in Massachusetts since 1947 and has been outlawed under state cases for the past 29 years.
The remainder of the charges would render Tsarnaev up for a life sentencing.
The Boston Globe reported that the 19-year-old's trial should be short and heavily guarded. Officials expect to have some questions answered concerning how badly Tsarnaev got injured during an armed shootout with police the evening prior to his arrest.
Older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is said to be the brains behind the blast, died in the firefight with law enforcement officials in Watertown, Mass.
A number of seats have been put aside for victims to sit in on the trial, but because of room's small size, prosecutors may have to employ a lottery to make the call of who gets to attend the proceedings. The court has also allotted space in an overflow room for victims of the bombings to watch the trial on private television.
But for Patricia Campbell, mother of 29-year-old Krystle Campbell who died from the first of two blasts at the finish line, she and her next-of-kin might not attend the trial when it begins at 3:30 p.m. EST. It's still too soon, and it hurts too badly.
"I don't know if I want to be there," she told the Boston Globe. "It's not like there's anything I can do to him."