WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, a U.S. citizen, has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property at the Boston Marathon Monday resulting in the death of three people and injuries to more than 200 people.
In a criminal complaint unsealed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Tsarnaev is specifically charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (namely, an improvised explosive device or IED) against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death, according to a statement released by the Department of Justice.
The statutory charges authorize a penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life or any term of years. Tsarnaev had his initial court appearance today from his hospital room.
The statement about the charges was relesed about one hour before 2:50 p.m. - the time the first bomb went off at the finish line one week ago.
“Although our investigation is ongoing, today’s charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country,” said Holder in the statement. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with each of the bombing victims and brave law enforcement professionals who lost their lives or suffered serious injuries as a result of this week’s senseless violence. Thanks to the valor of state and local police, the dedication of federal law enforcement and intelligence officials, and the vigilance of members of the public, we’ve once again shown that those who target innocent Americans and attempt to terrorize our cities will not escape from justice. We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”