When Will Alleged Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Trial Begin? It'll Be Almost 18 Months After The Bombing
It's been well over a year since the bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon, allegedly carried out by the sibling duo of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The latter, elder brother was killed during their attempted escape from authorities in the days following the attack, but the younger Dzhokhar was captured after a lengthy standoff in Watertown, Massachusetts — badly injured, but alive. He was charged while recovering in his hospital bed. But when is the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial going to begin?
In simplest terms, not for a while. The case is expected to go before a court in November, with U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. announcing a date of November 3 back in February. If it begins on time, that means it'll have taken over 18 months since the bombing to reach the start of Tsarnaev's trial. Prosecutors have indicated that they'll seek the death penalty for the Chechen-American, who was 18 at the time of the bombing.
It shouldn't come as much surprise that people are anxious to see Tsarnaev brought to trial. The stakes are undoubtedly high for the government to secure a guilty verdict, and it's not just Tsarnaev, either. Four friends of the brothers face charges over the incident — one of them, 20-year-old Azamat Tazhayakov, was convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy Monday, being found guilty of hiding evidence of Tsarnaev's alleged involvement in the bombing.
When Tsarnaev's trial begins in November, prosecutors will try to prove the staggering slate of charges against him — 30 counts in all — which could amount to a capital sentence. Tsarnaev plead not guilty to all of them during his first and only courtroom appearance so far, which took place back on July 10.
The fact that the government prosecuted Tazhayakov, and will do so to three more people before Tsarnaev's turn, has caused some angst for his defense attorneys. According to The New York Times, the attorneys claim that the government's slow-drip of Boston bombing-related trials leading up to Tsarnaev's is calculated to keep the attack alive in the public consciousness.
The defense has also taken issue with the choice of venue for the trial, urging that it be moved outside of Massachusetts, where they allege an an "overwhelming presumption of guilt" exists that could bias proceedings against him. Basically, there's any number of caveats in this case that could cause things to be delayed, but for the time being, it'll be November 3, 2014.