WASHINGTON (JTA) — Federal authorities charged Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, with using a “weapon of mass destruction” — a charge that could bring the death penalty.
Tsarnaev, 19, was charged at his bed in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he is recovering from wounds sustained last week during shootouts with police and the manhunt to find him.
Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a shootout with police early on April 19.
The brothers were identified as suspects after authorities reviewed photos and video taken on the afternoon of the marathon on April 15, when two bombs killed three people and wounded more than 170.
A number of Republicans in Congress had demanded that Tsarnaev be charged as an enemy combatant, which would deprive him of some rights accorded defendants.
Tsarnaev, who immigrated from Russia and is of Chechen origin, is a U.S. citizen. He reportedly was preoccupied by Russian persecution of the Chechen minority.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, according to accounts by acquaintances, friends and family, as well as in social media, in recent years had attached himself to extremist Islamist causes.