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Suspect in Boston Marathon bombing indicted, 30 charges

2:25 PM, Jun 27, 2013   |    comments
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BOSTON, Ma. -- A federal grand jury in Boston has returned a 30-count indictment against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, charging him with three deaths in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings and the killing of a campus police officer three days later.

The 19-year-old Cambridge, Mass., student is also charged with using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and the use of a firearm resulting in death.

Tsarnaev, who faces a possible death sentence if convicted, is scheduled to be arraigned July 10.

Federal authorities were expected to make a formal announcement of the charges at 3 p.m. Thursday in Boston.

The indictment alleges that for three months beginning in February, Tsarnaev conspired with his 27-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in the use of improvised explosives -- made of pressure cookers, black powder and shrapnel -- near the crowded finish line of annual race.

The explosions, only seconds apart, killed three people and injured more than 200 others.

Three days later, after the FBI had released photos of the two suspects, the brothers allegedly drove to the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology armed with five explosive devices, a semi-automatic handgun, a machete and hunting knife.

They allegedly shot and killed campus officer Sean Collier there and tried to steal his service weapon, according to the indictment.

Hours later, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died during a confrontation with police, while Dzhokhar, who was injured, fled the scene in a car.

He was captured early the next morning while hiding in a boat in the backyard of a local resident in the Boston suburb of Watertown.

According to court documents, authorities later found a series of messages scrawled on the inside wall and beams of the boat:

'The U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians...I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished... We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all... Now I don't like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said (unintelligible word) it is allowed... Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.'

The Tsarnaev brothers had roots in the turbulent Russian regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, which have become recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists. They had been living in the United States for about a decade.

Dzhokhar has been held at a prison medical center outside Boston. Tamerlan was secretly buried in a rural Virginia cemetery.

Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

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