Boston Bombing: Jury Selection Begins in Trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
The 21-year-old faces 30 criminal counts, including murder charges
More than 20 months ago, two backpack bombs exploded at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Authorities quickly released photos of the suspects, later identified as brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
On Monday, just two miles from the site of the bombing, the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will begin with U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole presiding. Although Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty, his attorneys have not indicated what his defense will be.
The court has summed more than 3,000 potential jurors to the courthouse in the hopes of finding an impartial jury of 12. On Monday morning, jurors began to arrive, maneuvering through the throngs of onlookers and camera-toting media. At least four helicopters circled overhead.
Because Tsarnaev faces the death penalty, the jurors will have to be “death qualified” – willing to impose the death penalty if they find Tsarnaev guilty.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers have repeatedly requested for a change of venue, perhaps to Washington, D.C. They have also requested several delays. But on Saturday, a federal appeals court ruled against them, paving the way for jury selection to start this week.
Since the bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been held at the Federal Medical Center Devens, a prison on a decommissioned Army base. He is not expected to appear in court until the jury is empaneled.
Jury selection will take several weeks; the entire case could take up to four months.