Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seen in public for first time since 2013

Video: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court ahead of a trial set to last several months

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Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court on Thursday, appearing in public for the first time in nearly a year and a half.

Tsarnaev, 21, was arraigned in July 2013. At the time, he still showed the signs of the bloody shootout with police several days after the attack on 15 April, when three people died and 260 others were injured.

The bloody standoff ended in his capture and the death of his older brother, Tamerlan.

The brothers had set off two bombs which exploded near the finish line of the marathon. Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, faces the possibility of the death penalty if he is convicted.

In the video footage, Tsarnaev can be seen being taken out of a black SUV wearing orange prison clothes and handcuffed. He is then escorted into another vehicle to go to the court house.

Tsarnaev received support from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the bombings in April 2013.

The mother-in-law of Ibragim Todashev called out to Tsarnaev in Russian in the courtroom.

Elena Teyer said she told him: "We pray for you. Be strong, my son. We know you are innocent."

Responding to questions from reporters about pro-Tsarnaev protestors outside the court, bombing survivor Marc Fucarile said, "Everybody's welcome to their opinion. The facts come out in the evidence, that's all. Like I said, they're all welcome to their opinions. Like I said, there's supporters for him and then there's supporters for us. And we've had a great amount of support. So, I'm happy for all the support we've had."

Security was tight at Boston's federal courthouse for Tsarnaev's final pre-trial conference.

During the brief hearing, US District Court George O'Toole Junior made no rulings, saying he would rule in writing on pending motions, including the defence's latest push to move the trial out of Boston.

David Bruck, one of Tsarnaev's lawyers, told the judge that the defence plans to file a motion to delay the trial, which is now scheduled to begin on 5 January with jury selection.

Additional reporting by the AP.