Terror, murder charges could be filed against Boston suspect

Federal terrorism charges against Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev could be filed soon, even as he remains hospitalized, a Justice Department official told CNN on Saturday. <br /><img src="http://www.9wsyr.com/images/common/camera.jpg" /> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.9wsyr.com/Photo.aspx?slideshow=41275246-a878-41cc-b401-f29ec08c7a40">Photos</a> | <span style="font-weight: bold;">Raw video:</span>
BOSTON (CNN) - Federal terrorism charges against Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev could be filed soon, even as he remains hospitalized, a Justice Department official told CNN on Saturday.

The 19-year-old could also face murder charges at the state level.

Federal prosecutors are at the heavily guarded Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where Tsarnaev remains in serious condition while in federal custody, and they are working on formulating the charges.

This development comes amid questions as to what's next for the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.

President Barack Obama let it be known that he's keenly interested in answers.

"There are still many unanswered questions," Obama said Friday night. "Why did these young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks? And did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers."

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are accused of setting off bombs at the marathon Monday, killing three people and leaving more than 170 wounded.

On Thursday night, they allegedly killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer before the older brother was killed in a shootout with police.
Dzhokar Tsarnaev was captured alive Friday night after he was found hiding in a boat in a Watertown, Massachusetts, backyard.

If he is physically able, Tsarnaev could be in a courtroom for an arraignment as early as Saturday.

"In normal circumstances, someone arrested on Friday night would not be arraigned until Monday morning, but because of the extraordinary circumstance here he may be arraigned on (Saturday)," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Ordinarily at an arraignment, the suspect is provided a lawyer, and the defense and prosecution try to make a case to release him on bail.

"He will not get bail obviously," Toobin said, referring to Tsarnaev. "They will set a preliminary hearing that could happen in the next 30 days. He will be indicted with the grand jury. And that's when the case will begin."

For now, the government is invoking the public safety exception, a designation that allows investigators to question Tsarnaev without reading him his Miranda rights, a Justice Department official told CNN on condition of anonymity.

In ordinary cases, a suspect is told by police he has the right to remain silent and he has the right to a lawyer.

But this is not an ordinary case, say U.S. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

They urged that Tsarnaev be held as an "enemy combatant," a designation that allows a suspect to be questioned without a lawyer and without being informed of his Miranda rights.

"Now that the suspect is in custody, the last thing we should want is for him to remain silent. It is absolutely vital the suspect be questioned for intelligence gathering purposes," the senators said. "Under the law of war we can hold this suspect as a potential enemy combatant not entitled to Miranda warnings or the appointment of counsel."

Alan Dershowitz, a prominent defense attorney and Harvard law professor, scoffed at the senators' statement.

"Impossible. There's no way an American citizen committing a domestic crime in the city of Boston could be tried as an enemy combatant," he told CNN's Piers Morgan. "It could never happen. And that shows absolute ignorance of the law."

Dershowitz also said statements made by police in Boston seems to contradict the government's reasons for invoking the public safety exception.

"The police have said there's no public safety issue; it's solved, it's over," Dershowitz said. "There are no further threats. But the FBI is saying there's enough further threats to justify an exception."

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the federal government may have known about international threats about which state officials were not aware.

"You would have to know the internals of what they have before you can assess whether there is a sensible invocation or not," Giuliani said.

If the government had prior knowledge of Tsarnaev's activities, it hasn't disclosed it. It did say that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was on the FBI's radar in the past.

FBI agents interviewed Tamerlan two years ago and also looked at his travel history, checked databases for derogatory information and searched for Web postings. The agency found no connection with terror groups, an FBI official told CNN.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was not a U.S. citizen, traveled to Sheremetyevo, Russia, in January 2012, according to travel records provided by a U.S. official. He returned six months later.

Dershowitz said there are many arguments that can be made to try the case in state court. It may be hard for a prosecutor to prove which crimes were committed by Tsarnaev or his older brother, Dershowitz said.

"If he says my intent was to please my brother, they could raise the question of federal jurisdiction," Dershowitz said.

This fight over federal or state jurisdiction could mean life or death.

Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.

There's another big question: The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 requires mandatory temporary military custody of certain terror suspects, but Dzhokar Tsarnaev is a U.S. citizen, and the act doesn't apply to Americans.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Friday her office is ready to get started on the case.

"My journey and my office's journey begins," Ortiz said. "And this investigation continues. And as the days continue you will get answers."

Tsarnaev's family lives in the Russian republic of Dagestan, which is next to the suspects' homeland of Chechnya, located in the North Caucasus region of southern Russia.

Russia's investigative committee in Dagestan said it will not engage with the Tsarnaev family unless there is "an order from above" to do so, spokesman Rasul Temerbekov told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on Saturday.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that Russia wants to get official information from the United States about the bombing suspects, and he wants there to be contact between investigators in both countries.
19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev  (MGN Online/FBI)
19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (MGN Online/FBI)
Police say one of the men suspected to be behind the Boston Marathons bombings was killed in a shootout with police Friday morning.
Police say one of the men suspected to be behind the Boston Marathons bombings was killed in a shootout with police Friday morning.
Boston Police: Bombing suspect alive and in custody 4/19/13

Photos: Manhunt underway in Boston

Boston, Mass (WSYR-TV/ABC) -- The manhunt for the surviving suspect in this week’s deadly Boston Marathon bombing is now over.

The second suspect -- 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- was found hiding in a boat, in a yard, just outside of Boston, in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Tsarnaev was said to be bleeding badly and was rushed to Mass General Hospital. The extent of his injuries are not known.

Dzhokhar’s brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his alleged co-conspirator in Monday’s attack, was killed in a shootout with police late Thursday night.

The brothers are U.S. residents of Chechnyan ethnicity. They were tracked down Thursday night after they allegedly ambushed MIT police officer Sean Collier. Collier was fatally shot while in his patrol car.

The brothers then allegedly carjacked an SUV and led police on a wild chase, firing weapons and throwing explosives.

SWAT teams spent the day Friday canvassing a Watertown, Mass., neighborhood, going door-to-door and now the city and the nation can rest easy.

Police hope since they were able to take him alive, they’ll have a better chance of finding out the motive. The FBI has also taken three other people in for questioning in connection with the case.


Updated -- 9:42 p.m.

Boston (WSYR-TV) -- The second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, 19-year-old college student Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was taken into custody Friday night after a manhunt that put the entire city on lockdown for most of the day.

Tsarnaev’s brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, was killed in a shootout with police near the MIT campus overnight.

Boston Police announced via Twitter that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in custody just before 9 p.m. The Tweet read: “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”

Tsarnaev was found holed up in a boat by a Watertown, Mass., resident just after 7 p.m.

A crowd that gathered near the scene broke out in cheers and clapping after learning the suspect had been caught and was in custody.


Updated - 6:30 p.m.

Boston, Mass. (WSYR-TV/ABC) -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says the "stay-indoors order" has been lifted in Boston, but that the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings remains at large.

Gov. Patrick explained the manhunt is at a point where the lockdown order could be lifted, however, those living in the area are being asked to remain vigilant.

Patrick addressed the public during a press briefing just after 6 p.m. on Friday. With him, was Col. Timothy Alben with the Massachusetts State Police.

Col. Alben says law enforcement officers, along with SWAT teams, searched the neighborhood and went door-to-door to make sure everyone was safe. He added that authorities were following up on a number of leads, but none have been “fruitful to this point.”

Col. Alben also mentioned that authorities did find unexploded ordinates that were removed and made safe.

Boston State Police will be adding patrols for the next few days and will be working with the Watertown Police Department.

“We are committed to seeing a conclusion to this case,” Col. Alben said.

Boston residents were also asked to report any suspicious activity.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino spoke briefly, as well, saying, “Together, we’ll get through this crisis.”

A heavy police presence in the area is expected to continue into the evening.

Authorities urged anyone who may see the suspect to call 911, local authorities or the FBI. Do not take action on your own.

The so-called "Suspect 1" - identified later as 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev - was killed in the overnight incident.

A tense night of police activity began on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A police officer was fatally shot Thursday night near a building on the university's campus.

MIT police officer Sean Collier was responding to a report of a disturbance in the area. He was found with "multiple gunshot wounds," the Middlesex County District Attorney Attorney's office said in a press release on their website.

Police say the disturbance was related to a carjacking near the university. According to police, that led to a car chase and in the process, explosives were thrown at officers. A second officer was wounded and is in critical condition Friday morning.

The search for the second suspect is centering around a man whose description is consistent with the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. Law enforcement identified the man as "suspect number two" and is the one wearing a white hat in the surveillance photos released by the FBI Thursday.

They have since identified him as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Police are calling him a "terrorist" and a dangerous man.  Police are now going door to door in a Boston area neighborhood searching for him.

The man wearing the dark hat in the surveillance photos is believed to be the suspect that was killed early Friday morning.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been identified as the brother of the slain suspect - Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Stay with NewsChannel 9 and ABC News for the latest on this developing situation.

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