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Prosecutors: Marathon bombs used Christmas lights



By Sylvia Lee Wingfield

BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Marathon bombing suspects used "relatively sophisticated" bombs with fuses made from Christmas lights and remote-control detonators made from model car parts, federal prosecutors said Wednesday in a court filing arguing statements one of them made to FBI agents after being captured shouldn't be thrown out.

The filing argued against a defense motion to toss suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's statements to the agents because he was questioned without a lawyer.

Prosecutors said the bombs, comments Tsarnaev and his brother made to a carjacking victim that they might explode more bombs in New York, and a note Tsarnaev wrote in a boat where he was captured made it imperative to know if there was a continuing terror threat before informing him of his rights. Prosecutors also said the brothers used fine black powder from firecrackers as fuel for the bombs and, since none was found in searches of their homes and cars, investigators worried they had help.

"Interviewing Tsarnaev as soon as possible was therefore essential to protect the public from possible harm," prosecutors wrote, citing a public safety exception to the Miranda rule about informing suspects of their rights before interrogation if their statements are to be used in court against them.

The prosecutors said Tsarnaev told agents he and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, acted alone and there were no more bombs.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to several federal charges. Prosecutors allege he and his brother planted two pressure cooker bombs near the marathon's finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. His brother was killed during a gunbattle with police on April 19, 2013, four days after the marathon bombing.

Prosecutors said Tsarnaev explained his motive in the note he left in the boat. It said the U.S. government was killing innocent civilians. "I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished," the note said in part. "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all." It ended, "Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop."

This month, lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev argued the statements he made after his arrest should be thrown out because he was questioned for 36 hours in a hospital room while suffering from gunshot wounds and without being told his rights. They said the questioning continued "despite the fact that he quickly allayed concerns about any continuing threat to public safety, repeatedly asked for a lawyer, and begged to rest." They said his treatment included painkillers that impaired his judgment.

Prosecutors, though, said that before agents questioned Tsarnaev a nurse told them he had no brain injuries and his medication would not "inhibit his mental faculties." They denied Tsarnaev was coerced or mistreated, saying they waited for his condition to improve before interrogating him and gave him rest breaks. They said they don't need Tsarnaev's statements to present their case against him but reserve the right to use them to rebut any inconsistent testimony.

In separate filings Wednesday, prosecutors also rejected defense motions that the federal death penalty should be declared unconstitutional and that some aggravating factors they have cited in seeking the death penalty should be thrown out.

They said "betrayal of the United States" by Tsarnaev as a U.S. citizen is a permissible factor but they would modify it to delete a reference to his status as a naturalized citizen. They said they propose to note instead that he violated the oath of allegiance he took in becoming a citizen.

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d.carns May 22 2014 at 12:51 AM

What pathetic lawyer try and get him off with a minor charge.?? They ought to sentence the lawyer also.

Flag Reply +94 rate up
25 replies
clewicke May 22 2014 at 12:55 AM

This was a well planned terroristic assault, intended to cause great bodily harm to many of those gathered in a heavily populated area, period.

Flag Reply +78 rate up
5 replies
robertfd34 May 22 2014 at 1:12 AM

Terrorist , bottom line hang him

Flag Reply +59 rate up
9 replies
ProScapes May 22 2014 at 12:50 AM

Unfortunately for us, defense attorneys don't care what atrocities these brothers committed and the pain and suffering they created. They just want to find a loop hole technicality to reduce their sentence. Shame!

Flag Reply +50 rate up
13 replies
Joanne May 22 2014 at 1:51 AM

Oh poor baby got questioned by the cops when he wasn't feeling his best... wahhh.

Flag Reply +46 rate up
4 replies
Steve May 22 2014 at 12:56 AM

You know what this means: no more Christmas lights or remote-controlled cars. Or, if you want to buy your kid a remote controlled car or hang Christmas lights on your house, you must pass a background check and/or register with the feds. Sounds crazy, but I'll bet that somewhere, in the 342 page Patriot Act that was passed with no one bothering to read it, some line can be 'interpreted' to mean just that. Remember, everything has changed: 'they are all out to get me, they are spying on me, they are documenting my every move, reading my mail' was the yammering of a paranoid delusional. Now, we know he was a lot closer to being right than wrong.

Flag Reply +40 rate up
7 replies
QUE HACES FABIAN May 22 2014 at 1:28 AM

All U.S. citizens have access to a defense attorney whether we like it or not. It's a good system because justice is supposed to be blind and we don't want to give the government so much power that they can convict anyone just based on public opinion.

Flag Reply +31 rate up
11 replies
hollywoodjamnite May 22 2014 at 12:53 AM

Funny how this article never mentions the name of the supposed carjack victim....or the name of the naked man that the police arrested that looked exactly like the older brother...or the missing camera footage from directly across the street of the bomb site.

Also: Officer Sean Collier – Boston area boxer and active boxing enthusiast
Tamerlan Tsarnaev – Boston area boxer and two time winner of the New England Golden gloves
Officer Sean Collier – Killed the night of April 18 under circumstances that have not been adequately explained
Tamerlan Tsarnaev – Killed the night of April 18 under circumstances that have not been adequately explained

Their friend Todashev...executed with 6 bullets to the body and one to the head, in his own house when they were questioning him....the 2 FBI agents that were involved in the shooting fall out of a helicopter and die soon thereafter.

This whole story REEKS. The Tsarnaev's backpacks aren't even the same COLOR as the one that exploded. BULLS**T.

Flag Reply +27 rate up
24 replies
YourFtr May 22 2014 at 12:45 AM

Spies, Terrorists, and/or Saboteurs
who act while not in their countries military uniform
don't have rights.
They wern't wearing Taliban Diapers and Turbans.

Flag Reply +26 rate up
4 replies
Steve May 22 2014 at 1:31 AM

Let's hope USG looses in this case. Under their rationale, the Miranda warning will become useless, virtually null and void.

Why? There is a premise when it comes to any explosion that there might be an additional explosive.

Question: At what point does a criminal act become a terrorist act? Does a criminal act in this context, require some financial benefit rather than a non-tangible such as a protest or publicity for a particular cause?

In the final analysis, if USG only has these "admisison" statements for proof "beyond a reasonable doubt", and no other indepdently-gathered evidence, then USG deserves to not to win and to fire both the supervisory FBI agent and the lead prosecutor for allowing such a case to move forward without such indepdently-gathered evidence.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
10 replies
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