Evidence mounts against lone survivor

Marathon bomb suspect faces uphill battle defending act of terror
Associated Press
Apr 24, 2013

There are photos of the suspect at the bomb scene, video footage of him dropping a knapsack at the site of one of the blasts, and perhaps most incriminating could be the written words of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev himself during questioning in a Boston hospital. A case with evidence like this may be the toughest challenge a lawyer can face: defending someone accused of an act of terror so horrific a nation cries out for swift, severe punishment.

Attorneys who handle terrorism and other notorious cases say public opinion is stacked against the defense for obvious reasons. Acts of terrorism unleash an outpouring of anger from the public, including potential jurors. In Boston, the circumstances are especially egregious: Three people, including an 8-year-old boy, died in the twin blasts, more than 260 were injured, and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was later fatally shot.

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Some lawyers say that in this case, the surveillance evidence and a police shootout make a "he wasn't there" innocence claim untenable — and keeping Tsarnaev out of the execution chamber may itself be a triumph.

"The reality is you just try to save his life," said Thomas A. Durkin, a Chicago lawyer who has defended several terrorism suspects, including Ramzi bin al Shibh, one of the alleged plotters in the 9/11 attacks now being held in Guantanamo.

Durkin said there are several steps the defense can take: Hire top-notch investigators, look for possible psychiatric issues or brain damage and scour for potential vulnerabilities in how the government collected evidence. But he said the biggest hurdles for lawyers, clearly, are the bombings and the ensuing horror.

"It's just an unspeakable crime," Durkin said. "It strikes at the heart of a free society. It strikes fear into everyone. It's just an awful, awful situation — people standing, watching a race one second and having no feet after that. I can't imagine worse evidence."

Frank Rubino, a Miami defense attorney who represented former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega on drug conspiracy charges, agreed it wouldn't make sense to deny the younger Tsarnaev's involvement, but attorneys could try to spare his life by focusing on his age — 19 — and possible coercion by his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, who was killed Friday in a fierce police shootout.

"To take this case to trial and argue that he didn't plant the bomb and someone else did it would be futile," Rubino said in an email. "The evidence of both flight from the police and the shootout will come in evidence as 'consciousness of guilt.' How can one explain that conduct? Innocent people don't throw bombs at the cops, shoot it out with the cops and hide."

Tsarnaev was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill in the April 15 bombings. He could face the death penalty if convicted. He was questioned in his Boston hospital room by a special interrogation team for high-value suspects.

Two U.S. officials said preliminary evidence from that interrogation suggests the brothers were motivated by religious extremism but apparently were not involved with Islamic terrorist groups. Tsarnaev communicated with his interrogators in writing, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

An FBI affidavit released Monday reveals incriminating evidence against Tsarnaev, including surveillance-camera footage that shows him raising his mobile phone to his ear just before the two blasts. After the first explosion, a block away, as the horrified crowd turned in that direction, he appeared calm. He then quickly walked away, leaving a knapsack on the ground. About 10 seconds later, the FBI said, a bomb blew up where he'd been standing.

Authorities also have said they found a "large pyrotechnic" and BB pellets during a search of his dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth on Sunday. Among the shrapnel that struck victims were BBs.

It's far too soon to say what defense strategy Tsarnaev's lawyers will use. The federal public defender for Massachusetts, Miriam Conrad, has been appointed to represent him. Conrad is expected to be the lead attorney, but the office will bring in at least one, if not two lawyers, with death penalty experience.

Thomas H. Dupree Jr., a Washington, D.C., lawyer, says in most cases with so much evidence, the defense might consider an insanity defense, but that would be very difficult here. "This appears to be a carefully calculated, malevolent plot," he said.

Without that option, he said the defense could seek to enter a guilty plea in a deal to avoid the death penalty. "They may make the argument that he was not the ringleader and was under the spell of his brother," Dupree said. "I don't know how successful that would be."

The focus now should be on gathering the facts, he said. "If you're his lawyer you want to find out if there are any mitigating circumstances that might change the public view of him," Dupree added. "If the facts turn out to be what we see now, their focus should be on saving his life."

___

Associated Press writers Curt Anderson in Miami, Linda Deutsch in Los Angeles and Denise Lavoie in Boston contributed to this report.

 

Comments

Bluto

Speaking of lists , and Rachel Madow . She did a segment saying that you could be on the NO fly list and still be able to go to a gun dealer and buy enough black powder to make several pressure cooker type bombs , WITHOUT a background check . It is my understanding that a proposed bill closing this HUGE LOOPHOLE is being fielded as we speak . I wonder if the NRA and their puppet politicians will swat it down , and continue to give criminals and terrorists plenty of support .

Erie County Resident

Bluto you and Rachel Madcow spew all kinds of stupidity don't you.
1st The majority of gun dealers do NOT stock blackpowder which by the way needs no background check for. (I know you'll whine but Walmart sells it. No they don't Pyrodex is a substitute with no like proerties.)
2nd if you really want blackpower go to Lowes, Home Depot, and your local drugstore to pick up everything you need to make blackpowder.
The GOP and the NRA have absolutely nothing to do with this other than the trolls like you and the garbage the liberal media feed you as fact.

Bluto

Just type in " gun dealers that sell black powder " . Pyrodex , black powder whatever , your splitting hairs . They both go boom . They may not all be MAJOR DEALERS selling it , but they are selling it . And I know there isn't a required background check , that's the whole point of my comment . ANYONE can walk into a gun store , or Lowes , Home Depot ( as you say ) and pick up black powder / Pyrodex ( even if they are on the no fly list ) and still get bomb fixings . If you don't care for Rachel Maddow , that's fine . I'm just saying that's where I seen this . I have found her to be pretty accurate , at least compared to some Fox News personalities . As for the NRA and the GOP . Who do you think are keeping the loopholes open that allows criminals and terrorist to get their hands on this stuff ?

Erie County Resident

Comparing blackpowder and Pyrodex is spliiting hairs you say.
That tells me right there you have no idea what you are talking about.
Google anything you want, Wikipedia is also a very good liberal source to quote.

As far as your gun grabber spew the GOP and NRA keeping the 2nd Amendment alive. They didn't defeat this crap Obama tried shoving through Congress on their own, the voice of the real American people did it. Not the leftwing socialist idiots that want to destroy our country.

Your government controlled propaganda media can spout the 90% of Americans want this garbage all they want. It is easy to come up with that poll number when your standing in a room with all Democrats trying to please their master.

Bluto

Whatever . Keep drinking that NRA kool aid , and kneel to your GOP masters like a good little slave .

Centauri

"There are photos of the suspect at the bomb scene,"
There are photos of many people at the bomb scene.

"video footage of him dropping a knapsack at the site of one of the blasts" Have the defense attorneys viewed this video that the FBI refuses to show?

"perhaps most incriminating could be the written words of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev himself during questioning in a Boston hospital."
There are mind altering drugs that can make a person say or do anything. The American people deserve to see the video of the placement of the bomb.

I have read news story after news story about the Boston bombing and many things do not add up. The FBI told the people to ignore other photos and only pay attention to the photos that the FBI posted. A lot of links that I saved no longer work. Who took down the links?

I have read story after story that the suspect was "pulled" from the boat. If this was true why the photo of the suspect coming out of the boat on his own?

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/...
"Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing who was captured Friday night after he was found hiding in a boat in a Boston suburb."

I have read news stories that the older brother was taken alive and was cuffed in the street. The younger brother then ran over the older brother and dragged his body down the street. If anybody has any evidence such as a photo or video, please post the link showing the older brother cuffed and the younger brother running over him. There are photos and videos of another person who was cuffed but it was not the suspect.

Bluto

Perhaps they actually have a witness who saw the drop . Maybe one of the victims who was standing there as the backpack was set.

Centauri

I have found no credible information of any eye witness seeing the bomb placed. The FBI claims to have a video showing the suspect placing the bomb in the second explosion but refuse to release it. Maybe they are in the process of making the video using some Hollywood computer magic. The FBI has posted pictures of a black backpack with a white patch from the first explosion. All of the photos and videos of the oldest brother shows a gray backpack lacking the white patch. I had many links that I wanted to post but they vanished from the internet.

Bluto

The alledged witness is named Jeff Bauman . He was injured in the blast , and had to have his legs amputated . He apparently said he had seen one of the bombers place the backpack and walk away.

Centauri

"The alledged witness is named Jeff Bauman."

Bluto, Thank you for the name of the alledged witness, Jeff Bauman. It is one more piece to add to the puzzle in my search of the truth.

Centauri

"video footage of him dropping a knapsack at the site of one of the blasts" Have the defense attorneys viewed this video that the FBI refuses to show? I should have stated potential defense attorneys who are named in the news story and gave their opinions.

thinkagain

Talk about rewriting history…

The Liberal hypocrites conveniently forget that many of their Democrat leaders agreed with the intelligence that Bush acted on when he went into Iraq.

Once again the typical Liberal hypocrite demonstrates their non-relevancy on these articles.

deertracker

So if you tell a lie and I trust you since you are the President, it's my fault? Right wing ding bat logic at its finest!

Contango

So the Democrat Senators and Reps who voted for Iraq Resolution were either stupid or naive?

Good argument! :)

The U.S. was "technically" at war with Saddam for yrs. The Iraqis fired SAMs and AA frequently at Coalition aircraft and their aircraft often violated the No-Fly Zone:

http://books.google.com/books?id...

Pres. Obama attacked Libya. When did they fire on U.S. aircraft?

Pres. Obama uses drones in Yemen, when did that country attack the U.S.?

Face it, Pres. Obama is a "faultless" puppet of the political ruling class.

shucks

The Bush administration lied , and everybody believed it.
It's that simple.
Who would suspect that their own leader would lie to them?

goofus

Obozo lies to us on a daily basis.

shucks

No he doesn't.

goofus
The Bizness

Now I know Obama is a politician and spins the truth, but most of those "lies" has a basis in some sort of truth. No matter how far of a stretch it may be from a truth. So both people are right here, some of those lies are valid however.

goofus

However, I'm sure if you follow the links, they will be proved.

The Bizness

You understood my point at least. Politicians spin the truth so much that it technically isn't a lie, but I still think it is one because it is so far from the truth.

Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc... All did it. That's all I was getting at.

I did go to the links and many of them are based on truth.

Contango

"...but most of those "lies" has a basis in some sort of truth."

So IOW, Pres. Obama "only" LIES a little? ROFLMAO!!!!

luvblues2

"some of those lies are valid however." How does one validate a lie?

It's beyond belief that someone could actually type that and mean it.

Contango

The Liar Paradox: This sentence is false.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lia...

luvblues2

Occam's Razor.

Contango

I shave with it. :)

Contango

"Who did this?

The bombs that blew up seconds apart at the finish line of one of the world's most storied races left the streets spattered with blood and glass, three dead, more than 140 wounded and maimed and gaping questions of who chose to attack at the Boston Marathon and why. "

4shizzle
Tue, 04/16/2013 - 4:56pm

"It probably is a paranoid, gun worshiping, Right-Winger."

The Big Dog's back
Tue, 04/16/2013 - 3:42pm

"Everyone knows it was a right winger."

Nope! Reports are that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was an Obama supporter.

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

shucks

Your mama?
Yo' daddy?

thinkagain

The Big Dog's back
Sun, 04/21/2013 - 9:38am

The 19 year old is a Catholic.

And the liberal’s credibility gap just keeps widening…

shucks

Credibility?
The Bush administration lied us into a war.
It's that simple

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