Boston bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev faces death penalty over weapon of mass destruction charge

Charges brought in hospital but suspect will not be treated as an enemy combatant

Federal prosecutors in America have charged the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings with "conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property in the US resulting in death".

He will be tried in a federal - not state - court, and this charge carries the death penalty.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still in a hospital bed and unable to speak after suffering a throat wound, reportedly the result of a failed suicide attempt at the climax of a dramatic hunt, when he was found hiding under a tarpaulin covering a blood-stained boat in a residential garden.

Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old Chechen college student, is suspected of carrying out the attacks, which killed three and injured over 170, with his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan.

Police declined to comment on media reports he was communicating with authorities in writing, with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis telling CNN: "There have been widely published reports that he is (communicating silently). I wouldn't dispute that, but I don't have any specific information on that myself.

"We're very anxious to talk to him and the investigators will be doing that as soon as possible."

The charges come on the same day as one of Tsarvaev's alleged victims was laid to rest. Mourners lined up outside  St Joseph Church in Medford, Massachusetts, for 29-year-old Krystle Campbell's funeral.

The restaurant manager was one of three people killed a week ago near the race's finish line, where she had gone to watch a friend finish.

Agents are believed to be questioning Tsarnaev over whether he and his brother had accomplices in the attack. They are apparently also trying to find out if there are any unexploded bombs still to be discovered.

It also emerged that Tsarnaev had discussed the Boston Marathon bombings with friends the day after the attack when he returned to the University of Massachusetts campus to use the gym.

Speaking to CNN, a friend claimed Tsarnaev said: “Yeah man, tragedies can happen anywhere in the world. It’s too bad.”

The friend went on to say that, other than appearing a little tired, Tsarnaev seemed otherwise “fine”.

And further details emerged of Tsarnaev’s condition at the time of his arrest late on Friday evening.

Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau told ABC News: “At the end they were just making demands of him: ‘show your hands, lift your shirt’. And eventually that’s what he did”.

He added: “He was very slow and lethargic in every move that he made and they could see there was no device on his chest. They kept creeping closer to him and then they felt it safe enough to pull him away from the boat”.

Tsarnaev was rushed to hospital, where he was said to be in a serious condition after suffering severe injuries and major blood loss.

Unconfirmed reports suggested he may have been hit once or twice by police bullets the previous evening during the fire-fight in which his brother was killed.

It has also been reported that, as police closed in he may have attempted to commit suicide. That attempt failed but left him with a severe throat wound that required him to be “intubated and sedated” and left him in a critical condition at a Boston hospital.

Late yesterday evening Tsarnaev’s condition appeared to be downgraded to ‘critical but stable’, although Boston Mayor Tom Menino publically stated that he may never be able to be vocally interviewed because of his throat injury.

Police yesterday confirmed that Tamerlan Tsarnaev is likely to have died after his younger brother drove a stolen SUV at police officers who were in the process of arresting the 26-year-old.

Tamerlan was apparently lying handcuffed on the floor after police pounced on him when he ran out of ammunition. He had reportedly approached officers while firing but left his stash of ammunition in the car the brothers had stolen, leaving him vulnerable to arrest as soon as he ran out of bullets.

As Tamerlan was being handcuffed and arrested, police say his younger brother drove the vehicle at high speed towards the group. The police officers were able to dive out the way of the vehicle, but the older brother was hit by the car and dragged for a short distance.

Doctors confirmed that Tamerlan was suffering multiple gunshot wounds, blast injuries and major trauma to his trunk caused by being run over. Offices think it is likely to be the trauma injuries which killed him.

The developments come as debate rages over how much the FBI knew about the activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The Russian government contacted the agency in early 2011 requesting further information on him, with the FBI confirming this was apparently “based on information he was follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States to the country's region to join unspecified underground groups”.

The FBI apparently responded by checking databases, and interviewing Tsarnaev and his family but said it "did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign".

In a further development, the boys' father, Anzor Tsarnaev, reportedly told Channel 4 News that Tamerlan had called his mother on Wednesday – two days after the bombing – to tell her the FBI had contacted him and they believed he was behind the deadly attack. Tsarnaev reportedly told her that he responded to the FBI accusation by saying "that's your problem".

Republican representatives were quick to jump on the news that the FBI had previously looked into Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s activities, with the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Peter King calling the bombings "the latest in a series of cases like this... where the FBI is given information about someone as being a potential terrorist".

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham added that either the FBI had failed or US laws weren't strict enough.

"The ball was dropped in one of two ways… the FBI missed a lot of things, is one potential answer, or our laws do not allow the FBI to follow up in a sound solid way," Graham told CNN.

Suggested Topics
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried