BOSTON —Potential jurors stared intently at Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as jury selection in his federal death penalty trial began Monday under tight security.
CCTV America’s Nick Harper reported from Boston.
Jury selection underway in Boston marathon bombing trialPotential jurors stared intently at Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as jury selection in his federal death penalty trial began Monday under tight security. CCTV America's Nick Harper reported from Boston.
Timeline: The Boston Bombing
Tsarnaev, flanked by his attorneys, sat at a table in the front of the jury assembly room. Wearing a dark sweater and khaki trousers, he picked at his beard, looked at the potential jurors and looked at the judge.
Over the next three days, about 1,200 people will be called to federal court to be considered as potential jurors. The first 200 were given initial instructions Monday by Judge George O’Toole Jr. Twelve jurors and six alternates are to be selected.
The judge said the trial will begin on Jan. 26 and will last three to four months.
Prosecutors say 21-year-old Dzhokhar and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev — ethnic Chechens who had lived in the United States for about a decade — carried out the bombings as retaliation for U.S. actions in Muslim countries. Tamerlan, 26, died after a firefight with police several days after the bombings.
The defense is expected to argue that Dzhokhar had a difficult childhood and was heavily influenced by his elder brother, who authorities believe became radicalized in the last few years of his life, including during a six-month trip to Dagestan and Chechnya in 2012.
The courthouse was under tight security Monday, with dozens of police officers inside and outside the building. One bombing victim, Karen Brassard, was outside the jury room waiting to observe jury selection. There were no Tsarnaev supporters outside the courthouse as there have been during pretrial hearings.
The jury will decide whether Tsarnaev planned and carried out the twin bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 near the finish line of the race on April 15, 2013.
If they find him guilty, they also will decide whether he should be put to death. Survivors and first responders are among those expected to testify.
The trial, which likely will last several months, is perhaps the most scrutinized case of its kind since the federal trial of Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted and executed for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers tried for months to get the trial moved, arguing the Boston jury pool was tainted because of the number of locals with connections to the race. They drew parallels to the McVeigh case, which was moved to Denver for similar reasons. But U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr., who is presiding over the case, refused.
Jury selection is expected to be a lengthy process because of extensive media coverage and the thousands of runners, spectators and others in the area affected by the bombings. The process also could be slowed if potential jurors express objections to the death penalty.
Report complied with information from The Associated Press
Security expert Robert Siciliano discusses Boston marathon bombing
Security was tight in and around the federal courthouse in Boston. In the waters outside, an armed U.S. Coast Guard vessel was on patrol. It’s one indication of how the United States and other parts of the world have changed as a result of what happened in Boston. To discuss more about the Boston marathon bombing trial, CCTV America interviewed Robert Siciliano, a security expert with Hotspot Shield.