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
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal