TIME Crime

The Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Will Stay in Boston

Boston Marathon Bombing
This photo released April 19, 2013, by the FBI shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev AP

Judge denies defense request to hold proceedings in another state and says that finding an impartial jury in Massachusetts is possible

The defense’s request to move the alleged Boston Marathon bomber’s trial outside Massachusetts has been denied by a federal judge in Boston, who did not agree with the contention that finding an impartial jury in the state would be impossible.

The judge did grant a request to delay the trial — but by two months only and not the 10 months the defense team had asked for.

The trial is now set for Jan. 5, 2015, at the federal courthouse in Boston — about 2 miles from the Boston Marathon finish line, where two pressure-cooker bombs detonated on April, 15, 2013, killing three people and wounding more than 260 others.

Lawyers for 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — who is accused of leaving the bombs at the race, as well as of shooting to death a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer while seeking to evade arrest — suggested that more than a year of aggressive media coverage of the bombings had made it impossible to recruit an impartial jury.

But Judge George O’Toole found on Wednesday that Massachusetts, home to 5 million people, afforded sufficient opportunity.

“It stretches the imagination to suggest that an impartial jury cannot be selected from this large pool of potential jurors,” he wrote.

Tsarnaev faces 30 charges, some of which carry the death sentence. His lawyers have contended that his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev — who was killed in a shoot-out with police after the bombings — was a dominant, persuasive force in the younger brother’s life and the true mastermind of the attacks.

O’Toole’s 10-page decision leans in part on precedent set in the 2006 trial of Enron’s CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, who lost his bid to move the proceedings out of Houston.

The judge said the decision in that case rested different factors including the size and characteristics of the district and the quantity and nature of the media coverage.

O’Toole said that although media coverage of the Tsarnaev case had been “extensive,” it had not “been so inflamed and pervasively prejudiced” as to make it impossible to find a fair jury in the state.

He also said that jurors were not required to have never heard about an alleged crime before entering the courtroom, but were asked to judge the accused purely on the evidence presented in court.

“It is doubtful whether a jury could be selected anywhere in the country whose members were wholly unaware of the Marathon bombings,” said O’Toole. “The Constitution does not oblige them to be.”

TIME Crime

Boston Bombing Suspect Requests Trial Delay

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev FBI/AP

The trial is currently scheduled to begin in November

Lawyers for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev filed a petition Friday asking a federal judge to delay the start of his bombing trial to September 1, 2015 or later. The defense argues that it needs more time to prepare given the volume of evidence to sort through and the severity of the charges.

“The trial in this case is currently scheduled to begin just 16 months after the defendant was indicted,” the petition said. “It is critically important that any trial be fair, which means giving both sides, not just the government, enough time to uncover and present all relevant evidence.”

Earlier this month defense lawyers argued that media coverage in Boston would unfairly harm Tsarnaev’s defense and asked that the trial be moved from Boston.

Tsarnev is accused of carrying out the April 15, 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon with his brother Tamerlan. Three bystanders were killed and hundreds were injured during the bombing. A police officer died in subsequent shootings, and Tamerlan died after he was shot in the head during a manhunt for the two brothers.

The trial on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death is currently scheduled to begin in November.

TIME Parenting

How News Coverage of the Boston Marathon Manhunt Affected Local Kids

Explosions At 117th Boston Marathon
Women and children are evacuated from the scene on Boylston Street after two explosions went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Bill Greene—Boston Globe/Getty Images

You may not be surprised to learn that children who attended the 2013 Boston Marathon were six times more likely than non-attendees to suffer from PTSD. Given the carnage and panic wrought by the bombs, which caused 3 deaths and 264 injuries, you’d expect more trauma symptoms from those on the scene. But a new study reports that kids who had up-close views of the ensuing manhunt were just as likely to suffer PTSD as those with near exposure to the bombing. And kids who may not have had first-hand experience of either—well, the more news coverage they watched, the more mental health disturbances they suffered.

The study, published online June 2 in Pediatrics, surveyed 460 parents of children who lived within 25 miles of the marathon or of Watertown, where the manhunt took place. They were asked about their children’s experiences during the week of the attack and about their psychological and social functioning in the following six months. The investigators, led by psychologist Jonathan Comer, formerly of Boston University and now at Florida International University, were interested in the impact both of the bombing and of its ripple effects afterward. They also wanted to measure both PTSD and less severe mental health issues such as conduct and peer problems, hyperactivity and inattention. Interestingly, they found an even stronger link between broad mental health problems among the kids with dramatic exposure to the manhunt (hearing shots, having their house searched, for example) than among kids with similar sensory experience of the bombing itself.

The investigators also measured both the time the children spent glued to the set and whether parents had tried to limit their news viewing. Overall, the kids watched an average of 1.5 hours of attack coverage and more than 20% watched for over three hours. “Two thirds of the parents did not attempt to restrict their children’s viewing at all,” Comer says. “Yet we saw after Oklahoma City and 911 that TV exposure can have negative mental health effects on children, both near and far.”

Experts on children and media tend to agree that restricting children’s media exposure to violent events is critical. Casey Jordan, a criminologist and justice professor at Western Connecticut State University, says that adults can put in context the sensationalism of media coverage designed to create a sense of danger. But children generally cannot. “The best rule,” he says, “is TURN IT OFF unless you really have a suspect on the lam in your neighborhood.” Just get the basic facts, he suggests, and do so by Internet if possible.

Parents can help their children through these scary times by speaking to them honestly but calmly about what is happening and letting them express their reactions and fears. “It’s important to reassure them that they are safe,” says psychologist Daniel J. Flannery, who directs the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University. “Explain,” he says, “that the event was very unusual, and sometimes bad people do bad things but not everybody is like that. Their sense of normalcy has been taken away from them, and they need to get that back. “

Calm matters, agrees Jordan. “Do not go off on a tangent about ‘those people’ or a rant about who is to blame,” he says. “Children are sponges, they will learn from parents’ own reaction to crime and chaos, and absorb all the fall-out from what they hear and see.”

This new study suggests that parents be alert to changes in their kids even months after—and miles away from—a violent incident. Are they eating or sleeping less—or more? Are they more withdrawn or anxious, acting out at school or with friends? The children may not have been personally involved in the traumatic event, suggests this research, but they may still be suffering trauma. “The reach of terror and associated fear,” write the authors, “is not confined to the boundaries of an attack itself.”

TIME justice

Massachusetts Man Charged With Obstructing Boston Bombing Investigation

Officials say there is no indication Khairullozhon Matanov had any advance knowledge of the bomb plot

A Quincy, Massachusetts, man has been charged with destroying evidence and lying to investigators who have been looking into the Boston Marathon bombing, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston alleges that Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, tried to impede investigators and hide his connection to Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the men suspected of perpetrating the bombing. Prosecutors allege that Matanov lied to investigators and deleted information from his computer, including his browser cache, which stored records including his Google searches and a list of websites he visited.

Officials have no indication that Matanov had advance knowledge of the plan to bomb the marathon.

Prosecutors accuse Matanov, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan who legally emigrated to the United States in 2010, of being friends with Tamerlan Tzarnaev and participating in “a variety of activities” with the accused, including “hiking up a New Hampshire mountain in order to train life, and praise, the ‘mujahideen.’” According to the indictment, hosted here by CBS News, Matanov was in close contact with the bombers shortly after the bombs exploded on the afternoon of April 15, 2013, and bought them both dinner that evening.

If convicted on all counts against him, Matanov faces decades in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. His initial court appearance is set for 2 p.m. Friday.

TIME boston bombing

Boston Bombing Suspect’s Alleged Accomplices to Face Trial

Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, Robel Phillipos
This courtroom sketch shows defendants Azamat Tazhayakov, left, Dias Kadyrbayev, center, and Robel Phillipos, right, college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, during a hearing in federal court Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in Boston. Jane Flavell Collins—AP

A federal judge set a trial date for alleged Boston bombing accomplices Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both Kazakh nationals, who are charged with aiding Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to get rid of incriminating evidence and flee authorities

Two Kazakh nationals will stand trial for allegedly helping Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev evade authorities and jettison incriminating evidence.

USA Today reports that Federal Judge Douglas Woodstock rejected the defense team’s request to have all charges against Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov dropped, saying he would not weigh the evidence and act as “fact finder” before the trial dates.

Woodstock also rejected the defense team’s request to relocate the pair’s trials outside of Boston, where emotions might not run as high among selected jury members. Woodstock argued that the defense team’s concerns could be resolved through the usual jury vetting process.

Kazakh nationals Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov stand accused of obstructing police investigations by removing a laptop from the Boston bombing suspect’s dorm room and taking a backpack filled with firework shells emptied of explosive powder in the days after the April 15, 2013 bombings.

Tazhayakov will stand trial on June 30, and Kadyrbayev on Sept. 8. A third suspect, Robel Phillipos, will stand trial on charges of lying to investigators on Sept. 29.

[USA Today]

TIME

Pictures of the Week April 18 – April 25

From mourning the victims of the South Korean ferry disaster to the one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, to Obama in Japan and the running of the Boston Marathon, TIME presents the best photos of the week.

TIME

Feel Good Friday: 14 Fun Photos to Jump Start Your Weekend

From a joyful reunion to a cute baby giraffe, Time's photo editors offer a selection of photos to brighten your day.

TIME Athletes

Meb Keflezighi’s Boston Marathon Win Is a Victory For Us All

Meb Keflezighi crosses the finish line of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. Jim Rogash—Getty Images

A year after the Boston Marathon bombings, the immigrant American's victory sends a strong, symbolic message to the perpetrators of that awful event

One year ago, two young immigrant men, fed up with the American way of life, allegedly terrorized the Boston Marathon. A year later, an old — by marathon-running standards — immigrant who has totally embraced his adopted country won the historic race, thrilling everyone in attendance. On the first running of the Boston Marathon since last year’s bombings, Meb Keflezighi is the perfect man for the moment.

The message this victory sends to the bombers is not subtle: Screw you. You squandered your opportunity, your chance at the American dream — which still exists, thank you. You blew it. This could have been you.

Keflezighi became the first American man to win a Boston Marathon since 1983. No one gave him much of a chance, given his age — he will turn 39 next month — and the reality that since 1991, a Kenyan has won the race 19 times.

But Keflezighi has surprised skeptics before. He won a silver medal in the Athens Olympics marathon in 2004, and in 2009 became the first American to win the New York City Marathon in 27 years. That win kindled a tortured debate about “real” Americanism; a CNBC.com commentary, entitled “Marathon’s Headline Win Is Empty,” said that “the fact that [Keflezighi] is not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement … Nothing against Keflezighi, but he’s like a ringer you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.” Comments on a running site included: “Give us all a break. It’s just another African marathon winner” and “Meb is not an American – case closed.”

Yes, Keflezighi was born in an Eritrean house with no electricity. But his family fled that country’s war with Ethiopia when he was still a young boy. “I ran my first mile here,” Keflezighi told me in a 2012 interview before the London Olympics, where he finished fourth in the marathon. “I didn’t know the sport was an option in Eritrea.” He ran cross country in grammar school and high school in San Diego, and at UCLA. He’s a product of the American running system.

CNBC.com, for its part, apologized after the flap. But all questions about Meb Keflezighi’s Americanism have surely been answered by now. Especially on this day. Last year, Keflezighi attended the race, but did not run: he left only about five minutes after the bombs went off. “When the bomb exploded, every day since I’ve wanted to come back and win it,” Keflezighi said afterwards, via USA Today. “I wanted to win it for the people of Boston. It’s beyond words.”

He doesn’t need them. A year later, Keflezighi’s win speaks louder than any bomb ever could.

TIME cities

Newlywed Boston Marathon Bombing Survivors Finish Race Holding Hands

Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky each lost a leg in the bombings last year, only six months after getting married. One year later, they crossed the finish line together

Boston Marathon husband and wife bombing survivors Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, who each lost a leg in last year's bombings, roll across the finish line in the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Boston.
Boston Marathon husband and wife bombing survivors Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, who each lost a leg in last year’s bombings, roll across the finish line in the 118th Boston Marathon, April 21, 2014 in Boston. Elise Amendola—AP

Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky lost limbs as victims of the Boston Marathon bombing last year. One year on, they rolled across the finish line in wheelchairs, hand-in-hand.

After the first explosion on Boylston Street in 2013, the couple, watching the race together, suffered matching injuries: They each lost their left leg below the knee. Patrick’s memories of the crisis are murky but Jessica remembers the trauma clearly. In an interview with the Boston Globe, she recalled trying to block Patrick’s view from his own severed foot while a passerby extinguished her flaming clothes.

The couple recovered together, and returned to the marathon in 2014, side by side. “We’ve been married a year and a half,” Patrick told the Boston Globe, “but it’s like we have the knowledge of a couple that’s been married 10 years.”

TIME U.S.

Man Proposes to His Girlfriend at the Boston Marathon Finish Line

"After last year I realized the people you love and your life can be taken so quickly"

Shortly after completing the Boston Marathon today, runner Greg Picklesimer decided to make the day even more memorable by proposing to his girlfriend at the finish line.

He also completed the marathon last year, just a few hours before the terrorist attack that killed three people and injured dozens more.

“After last year I realized the people you love and your life can be taken so quickly,” Picklesimer told CBS Boston. “I didn’t want to lose that so I decided to come back and seal the deal.”

She said yes, luckily, because wouldn’t that be so awkward if she didn’t?

 

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