TIME Courts

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Took ‘Intro to Ethics’ at Time of Boston Marathon Bombing

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston on March 23, 2015.
Reuters Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston on March 23, 2015.

The 21-year-old's report card shows an undeclared major with seven Fs

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, currently on trial for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that claimed five lives and injured 280, had a cumulative college GPA of 1.094 and enrolled in an “Intro to Ethics” class the same semester of the attack, according to university transcripts revealed in court Tuesday.

UMass-Dartmouth Vice Chancellor Mark Preble exhibited Tsarnaev’s academic credentials as part of Tuesday’s testimony, showing an undeclared major receiving seven F’s on his transcript. In his final semester, uncompleted by Tsarnaev, the alleged bomber also enrolled in courses on Intro to American Politics, General Psychology and Finite Math, the Boston Globe reported.

Tsarnaev’s subpar academic performance prompted the university to cancel his financial aid, Preble said. In January 2013, Tsarnaev filed a Satisfactory Academic Progress Report to account for his low grades and reacquire financial aid eligibility:

“This year I lost too many of my loved relatives,” Tsarnaev scribbled in his report. “I was unable to cope with the stress and maintain school work. My relatives live in Chechnya, Russia. A Republic that is occupied by Russian soldiers that falsely accuse and abduct innocent men under false pretences and terrorist accusations. I am at a point where I can finally focus on my school work. I wish to do well so one day I can help out those in need in my country, especially my family members.”

[Boston Globe]

TIME Crime

Boston Bombing Victim Posts Courageous Open Letter to Tsarnaev

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial
Boston Globe—Getty Images Boston Marathon victim Rebekah Gregory, right, heads into the Moakley Courthouse for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the Boston Marathon bombings.

"I looked at you right in the face ... and realized I wasn't afraid anymore"

A woman who lost her leg after injuries sustained in the Boston Marathon bombing posted an open letter to admitted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Facebook, saying she’s no longer afraid of the man who gave her nightmares.

“This afternoon,” Rebekah Gregory DiMartino wrote on Wednesday, “I got to walk into a courtroom and take my place at the witness stand, just a few feet away from where you were sitting … I looked at you right in the face … and realized I wasn’t afraid anymore.”

Although DiMartino said she found sitting in court upsetting, wrote she realized it was “the crazy kind of step forward that I needed all along.”

But she didn’t mince words when it came to the 27-year-old accused of 30 charges relating to the Marathon bombing and the ensuing chase and firefight:

…You are a coward. A little boy who wouldn’t even look me in the eyes to see that. Because you can’t handle the fact that what you tried to destroy, you only made stronger.

Gregory posted another open letter in November saying goodbye to her leg before amputation. Doctors had tried 15 surgeries to restore it to health.

Tsarnaev’s lawyer said, in so many words, “It was him” during her opening statement Wednesday. But she entered a plea of “not guilty,” arguing that he had been manipulated by his older brother, Tamerlan.

TIME Crime

Jury Seated in Trial of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

The panel consists of eight men and 10 women

(BOSTON) — After two months of jury selection, a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates was seated Tuesday for the federal death penalty trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The panel consists of eight men and 10 women. Opening statements in the case are scheduled for Wednesday.

Tsarnaev, 21, faces 30 charges in connection with twin bombings at the finish line of the marathon April 15, 2013. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured. He is also charged in the killing of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer days after the bombings.

If the jury convicts Tsarnaev, the trial will move on to a second phase to determine his punishment. The only two options available for the jury are life in prison or the death penalty.

Judge George O’Toole Jr., prosecutors and Tsarnaev’s lawyers questioned prospective jurors individually.

Many potential jurors were excused when they said they had already formed an opinion on Tsarnaev’s guilt or were morally opposed to the death penalty. Many others were dismissed because of personal connections to the bombings, including people who have friends or family who were near the finish line when the bombs went off or who knew first responders who treated victims.

During the jury selection process, Tsarnaev’s lawyers tried repeatedly to get the trial moved out of Massachusetts, saying he could not find a fair and impartial jury because of the emotional impact the bombings had in the state.

O’Toole rejected three change-of-venue motions, saying the process of carefully questioning jurors to detect bias was successful in finding impartial jurors. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals twice refused to order the trial moved.

TIME Courts

Everything You Should Know About the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Jury selection begins Monday

The trial of one of the accused Boston Marathon bombers started Monday, nearly two years after the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 others, with the beginning of the selection of the jury that will ultimately decide the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Here’s what to know as the trial gets underway.

What happened in April 2013?

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are suspected of building and detonating pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon on April 15, 2013. The brothers escaped initial capture but were later identified as suspects and confronted in a days-long manhunt that shut down much of the Boston area and transfixed the country. Tamerlan died after a shootout with authorities that followed the death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer; he was also said to have been run over by a vehicle driven by his brother, Dzhokhar, who was later found in a boat parked on a driveway in nearby Watertown.

What about the brothers’ background?

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar came to the U.S. from Kyrgyzstan when they were aged 15 and 8, respectively. The older brother became a solid boxer while in Cambridge, Mass., and his younger sibling would become a popular wrestler at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School before enrolling at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Dzhokhar was said to have adjusted to life in the U.S. easier than Tamerlan, who authorities painted as having become disillusioned and who they said would later align with radical Islam.

MORE The Horror. The Heroism.

What charges does Tsarnaev face?

He faces 30 federal counts including the bombing of a public place, malicious destruction of public property, carjacking, disruption of commerce and possession and use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death. Here’s the full list.

How long is the trial expected to last?

That’s unclear, but it could be several months. Selecting a fit jury from a pool of more than 1,200 could take a few weeks, according to the Boston Globe, and the trial will be split into two phases. The first will involve determining his innocence or guilt; if the jury finds Tsarnaev guilty, the second phase will revolve around his sentencing.

Where will the trial take place?

The trial is set to be held at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. Tsarnaev’s defense team repeatedly tried to have it moved, arguing it would be too difficult to find an impartial jury where the attack took place. But the district court wouldn’t budge, writing in a newly released decision that it would be capable of finding 12 jurors and six alternates in the “large and diverse” population that resides in the district’s Eastern Division.

Who are the lawyers on both sides?

Legendary defense attorney Judy Clarke quickly joined Tsarnaev’s defense team, bringing her experience of representing the likes of unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Jared Lee Loughner, whose 2011 shooting rampage in Arizona left six people dead and 13 injured, including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Many of her clients are convicted and imprisoned while having avoided capital punishment, which Clarke opposes. Two other members of Tsarnaev’s defense team are Miriam Conrad, the chief public defender for Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and David Bruck, a Washington and Lee University School of Law professor and the director of its death penalty defense clinic.

The prosecution is largely composed of Assistant U.S. Attorneys with strong background in terrorism cases. William Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty both played key roles in the handling of the arrest of failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad in 2010. Nadine Pellegrini formerly led Boston’s major crimes unit.

Both legal teams will be presided over by U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr.

Who will likely be called as witnesses?

The court was recently handed a list of 590 law enforcement personnel, 142 civilians and 1,238 exhibits that they might make use of during the trial, the Times reports. That group includes some of the officers who were involved in the response to the attack, in addition Tsarnaev’s arrest and questioning.

Does Tsarnaev face the death penalty?

Yes. Even though the crime was committed in Massachusetts, where capital punishment has been illegal since the early 1980s, prosecutors charged Tsarnaev in the federal court system, which allows it. (A poll by the Globe in July found that 62% of respondents supported the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to seek the death penalty, but 29% opposed his choice.)

What is the defense expected to argue?

Legal observers agree that the defense attorneys will try to protect their client from the death penalty rather than prove his innocence. Among the issues at play will be how Tsarnaev may have been influenced by his older brother, which would involve cooperation from close friends and family. The defense team had previously said it had difficulties researching his relatives overseas.

How do people in Massachusetts feel about the trial?

Interviews with local residents and survivors, conducted by the Boston Globe and New York Times, suggest they are ready to bring the tragic saga to a close. How exactly they hope to do that varies, as some say they don’t want to rehash the attack while others are eager to learn more about what happened.

Why has the case taken so long to come to trial?

The trial was originally scheduled to begin last fall but the defense team asked for it to be pushed back to September 2015 or later, claiming it didn’t provide enough time to prepare due to an overwhelming amount of material from prosecutors. The new date then became Jan. 5.

Read next: Summary of Counts Facing Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME National Security

Friend of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Guilty of Obstructing Justice

Azamat Tazhayakov
Jane Flavell Collins—AP In this courtroom sketch, defendant Azamat Tazhayakov, a college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, sits during a hearing in federal court in Boston on May 13, 2014.

Azamat Tazhayakov is the first of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends to be put on trial for obstructing the investigation

A federal court found a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty of obstruction of justice and of conspiring to obstruct justice for interfering with the investigation.

Azamat Tazhayakov, a former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student, faces a possible 20-year sentence for the obstruction charge and five years for the conspiracy charge, the Boston Globe reports.

The 12-member U.S. District Court jury deliberated for 15 hours over the course of three days. The sentencing has been set for Oct. 16, according to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Prosecutors argued that Tazhayakov knew of another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, who allegedly removed evidence from Tsarnaev’s room a few days after the bombing and worked with him to help protect Tsarnaev.

Tazhayakov is the first of three friends of Tsarnaev to be put on trial on charges related to hindering the investigation. Tsarnaev’s trial is scheduled to begin in November.

[Boston Globe]

TIME movies

Hollywood Eyes Film Based on Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor’s Story

Jeff Bauman Throws First Pitch At Fenway Park
Jim Davis—The Boston Globe/Getty Images Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman threw out a ceremonial first pitch on May 28, 2013, at Boston's Fenway Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies played the Red Sox in a regular-season baseball game.

Three of the names behind the Oscar-nominated film The Fighter have reportedly signed on to produce a movie about Jeff Bauman

A gutsy survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings is to receive the silver-screen treatment with a film in the works about his remarkable story.

Jeff Bauman lost both his legs to the twin explosions while he was waiting for his girlfriend to complete the race. He penned a book, Stronger, about what occurred that fateful day and his long road to recovery.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate won the deal to develop the picture and brought in Mandeville Films to produce. The project will be an adaptation of Bauman’s book, which he wrote alongside best-selling co-author Bret Whitter.

Three big names who worked on the Oscar-nominated feature The Fighter — Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman and Scott Silver — are producing the film, and actor John Pollono will take on writing the adaptation in his first feature-length project.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded just seconds apart from each other as scores of runners were crossing the finishing line in Boston on April 15, 2013.

A manhunt ensued for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and he was apprehended four days later. His brother and fellow suspect Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Crime

Prosecutors: Suspected Boston Bombers Used Christmas Lights, Model Car Parts in Explosives

Prosecutors say the sophistry of the explosives gave investigators reason to believe that the suspects may have had accomplices, prompting them to question Dzhokhar Tsarnaev while he was being treated in the hospital.

The suspected Boston Marathon bombers used parts from Christmas lights and model cars to construct the sophisticated explosives used in the attack, federal prosecutors said in a Wednesday court filing.

Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two suspects in the April 16, 2013 bombings that killed three people and injured 264 others. His brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan, died during a police shootout following the search for suspects.

Prosecutors said in the filing the sophisticated nature of the explosives gave reason to believe that the brothers received assistance, the Boston Globe reports.

“In short, the facts and circumstances known to law enforcement at the time they interviewed Tsarnaev provided ample reason to believe that the Tsarnaevs did not act alone,” the prosecutors said in the filing, according to the Globe.

Prosecutors also said the brothers appeared to have crushed and emptied fireworks containing black powder for the bombs, but investigators did not find significant traces of the powder at the brothers’ residences or cars.

The filing also argues the court should not suppress statements Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made to FBI agents while being treated in a hospital after his arrest because investigators had to determine if the suspect had accomplices who could have posed a threat. Tsarnaev’s defense has argued that the interrogations are inadmissible because he was interrogated without access to a lawyer.

[Boston Globe]

TIME Boston Marathon bombing

Tsarnaev’s Attorneys Want Hospital Statements Thrown Out

The Boston bombing suspect's attorneys claim the 27 hour interrogation was intended to incriminate Dzokhar

In the aftermath of one of the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorneys say the FBI went too far in questioning him.

Paperwork from Tsarnaev’s attorneys say that the FBI interrogated him for 27 hours, including turning away lawyers, while Tsarnaev was handcuffed to a hospital bed. In seeking to have the statements given at the time thrown out, the lawyers argue that the questioning was “an effort to extract as much incriminating information as possible, without regard to the protections of the Fifth Amendment.”

The argument could prove to be moot, however, with prosecutors not planning to use the statements in their case.

TIME Television

Boston Marathon Bombing Inspires Fox Series

Penguin

The event series, based on the bestselling book Long Mile Home by two Boston Globe reporters, will follow the lives of five people whose lives are forever changed by the Boston Marathon attacks

Fox is developing an event series based on the bestselling book Long Mile Home, in which Boston Globe reporters Scott Helman and Jenna Russell chronicle the stories of five people who were in some way affected by the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, Deadline reports.

Helman and Russell were among the members of the Globe‘s team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the bombing and its aftermath. They will act as consultants for the four-hour series.

Fox has signed Rod Lurie, a producer and former investigative crime journalist, to write and direct the series. According to Deadline, he visited Boston before the 2014 marathon and went to the apartment where the bombers lived. There he found a note thumbtacked to the door that read: “Nobody in the building has anything to say to journalists/reporters. Please go away.”

[Deadline]

TIME Crime

Officials Charge Suspect for Dropping Suspicious Bags Near Boston Marathon Finish Line

A policeman stands guard during a ceremony commemorating the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston, on April 15, 2014.
Xinhua/SIPA USA A policeman stands guard during a ceremony commemorating the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston, on April 15, 2014.

Boston authorities charged a man with disturbing the peace, possessing a hoax device and disorderly conduct after he left two unattended backpacks near the Marathon finish line on Tuesday, a year after twin blasts killed 3 people and injured 260 others

Updated 2:40 a.m. E.T. on Wednesday

Authorities have charged a male suspect with disturbing the peace, possessing a hoax device and disorderly conduct after he left two unattended backpacks near the Boston Marathon finish line Tuesday, the Boston Police Department announced:

Police evacuated the area Tuesday evening, and a bomb squad was called to investigate the scene. According to local news reports, one of the backpacks was allegedly left by a barefoot man shouting “Boston strong” before police removed him from the area.

Police spokesman David Estrada said there did not appear to be any evidence that the bags were explosive or dangerous but that police take reports of unattended bags very seriously, the Boston Globe reports. A nearby train station was also shut down.

The discovery of the bags occurred exactly one year after a bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon killed three people and injured 264 others.

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