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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot