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

Contango

"Tsarnaev was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill in the April 15 bombings."

WMD?

The liberals have in the past excoriated Pres. Bush over WMD in Iraq.

Obviously taking the above into consideration, (by definition), there WAS WMD in Iraq as well.

What a MARVELOUS pratfall by the clowns in the circus of lefty political correctness.

shucks

Like always, you are wrong, clowntango.

Bluto

WMD , Is a vague term . If it can kill more then two people at once , then it can be considered a WMD . W. Bush used this scary term to con the American people into supporting a war , so I wouldn't make it out to be just a left or right kind of issue .

Contango

By definition the argument stands.

arnmcrmn

Contango is right. In a court of law, it would stand.

Mime Bloggling

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Tzhokhar Tsarnaevso, made these shocking statements on CNN tonight:

“If they are going to kill him. I don’t care. My oldest son is killed, so I don’t care. I don’t care if my youngest son is going to be killed today. I want the world to hear this. And, I don’t care if I am going to get killed too. And I will say Allahu Akbar!“

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/...

deertracker

I just don't get the feeling we are dealing with "radical terrorists" in this case. Seems more like one nutcase leading his younger brother astray. I THINK THE MEDIA IS WAY OVER HYPING THIS. In a free and open society you can expect more of the same. The WMD we were lied to that was supposedly in Iraq was suppose to come in the form of a mushroom cloud. Remember? Let's not compare apples to oranges.

shucks

"The WMD we were lied to that was supposedly in Iraq was suppose to come in the form of a mushroom cloud. Remember? Let's not compare apples to oranges."

Exactly right! The definition has been changed.

shucks

Viewer Alert: This is from a Democratic news show.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/263159...

SamAdams

Actually, I believe at the time the primary concern was over chemical weapons...

Contango

"Bush, Obama now tied at 47 percent approval":

http://washingtonexaminer.com/bu...

Contango

"Tamerlan Tsarnaev Actually Was On US Government Lists Of Potential Terrorists":

http://www.businessinsider.com/t...

Increasingly, the Obama Admin. looks like the gang that can't shoot straight.

Other than givin' "after-the-fact" eulogies, campaign fund raisers and golfin', Pres. Obama is pretty much as good as a third rate buffoon in the leadership dept.

Bluto

So , You're running for president then Contango , since you can do so much better ? I look forward to hearing about your platform on how you intend to save the world .

shucks

well said

shucks

Take your hate and lies somewhere else, Clowntango.

goofus

And your link to Rachael Madcow the lamestream media's lesbian showgirl didn't have a little hate invloved

shucks

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

Bluto

It's a good thing you brought up her sexuality , because that was real important in getting your point across . 8 P

Kimo

Re: "Lists Of Potential Terrorists"

Those "Government Employees" don't change with a new administration. The man at the top changes, the men in field don't. By the time the man at the top figures out where the restrooms and water fountains are, he is replaced by the incoming administration.

My WAG is that "list" has a few million names and it is near impossible to keep track of all the kooks on the list.
.

shucks

Funny and true.

What does WAG mean?

SamAdams

You're right, Kimo, the only MATERIAL changes tend to be the man at the top and, of course, the policies concerning what to do with whatever information is archived/gathered.

While you're also almost certainly right about the number of names on the "list," there's something even more troubling: A lot of those names are wrong. Remember when Ted Kennedy was stopped -- more than once -- at an airport because HE was on the list? He was eventually able to get his name removed, but the average Joe can't, even when he's just an average Joe.

Meanwhile, the TSA searches five year-olds and grannies; political correctness demands we don't pay particular attention to ethnicity or religion; and history indicates we're perfectly willing to disregard credible warnings or other information coming from allies (or even MAYBE "friends" like Russia). Such warnings were ignored under the Bush administration, and they're clearly being ignored under the Obama administration.

Yes, the authorities caught their man. But if agencies worked together, foreign intelligence was considered more seriously, and ethnicity and/or religion were duly added to the criteria and given the weight deserved, the Boston Marathon bombings might not have happened at ALL!

deertracker

I disagree with you on part of this. What warnings were ignored? The guy was questioned and investigated by the FBI. His supposed radicalization happened after the initial questioning. Let's put the blame where it belongs. The guys who constructed and set off the bombs. In no way is this the fault of the Obama administration. A lot of commenters were quick to point out that President Obama deserves no credit for their captures but want to blame him for the attack. Your memory is failing you about WMD in Iraq. America was never under any threat of attack by Iraq with chemical weapons or WMD for that matter. Let's not rewrite history!

SamAdams

What warnings were ignored? Russian intelligence and a six-month training trip to Russia.

Is the bombing Obama's fault? No. He didn't catch them, he didn't radicalize them or assist them, either. But is there the potential that authorities could have caught up to this plot sooner? Yes.

I never suggested that America was under any threat of a direct attack by Iraq. I responded to the post saying that nukes were a WMD concern. Although nukes must certainly be on the periphery of any discussion concerning a hostile nuclear power, the primary concern (at the time) was chemical weapons, and it was suggested mostly that they'd be used against Iraqi citizens or neighbors in the Middle East. I never asserted or even implied otherwise.

My memory isn't failing, but your reading comphrension might be!

deertracker

No your is or you can't hear the news. The guy was investigated. Chemical weapons were just another part of the lie. Ask Colin Powell! IT WAS ALL A LIE! Comprende?????

Contango

Yea, "IT WAS ALL A LIE!"

Tell that to the 5,000 dead Kurds and their grieving families.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-...

SamAdams

Even if it WAS later learned to be a lie (and it wasn't — the fate of many Kurds is a matter of FACT, not conjecture), the point remains valid: At the time, the concern was chemical weapons. What part of "at the time" are you incapable of grasping? Or are you pulling a Hillary on us and just deciding "at this point, what does it matter?"

arnmcrmn

Sam, thats what liberals do best....deflect and start a fire somewhere else to get you off topic.

Contango

Yea, "Let's not rewrite history!" :)

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

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

Pres. Obama is a eulogy readin', campaign fund raisin', golf playin' "faultless" puppet.

goofus

Yes, let's not rewrite history, the Kurds in Northern Iraq were sprayed with pixie dust from tinkerbell!!!!

goofus

Yes, let's not rewrite history, the jetliner found in Salman Park area of Iraq was not used for training terrorists but was a kiddie ride

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's picture
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's picture
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

arnmcrmn

This isn't about the Iraq war....get over it...kinda like you tell everyone to get over the election. Bahahaha..

shucks

arnmcrmn
Follow the thread then crawl back in your hole...Bahahaha..

The Big Dog's back

Prove it winnie.

Contango

Let's also remember Saddam's use of WMD during the Iran-Iraq War:

"...extensive use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas by the Iraqi government against Iranian troops, civilians, and Iraqi Kurds."

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

The Big Dog's back

Off topic again winnie.

goofus

You people brought this on yourself, he was after all taxpayer funded

http://theblacksphere.net/2013/0...

goofus

For 4shizzle and deertracker and the rest of the history rewriters

http://kdp.se/old/chemical.html

shucks

Thanks to 'poppy' Bush betraying the Kurds.

Talk about rewriting... maroon.

goofus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I...

Probably missed this unstaged no teleprompter moment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P...

Contango

@ goofus:

Sad.

They're probably also Holocaust deniers like their hero Saddam.

While patrolling the No-Fly Zone, it was only a matter of time before one of our aircraft was hit by SAMs or AA fire - then what?

deertracker

Yes, he did use chemical weapons on the Kurds years before America invaded them so what exactly is your point doofus? That was not the reason given for invading Iraq!

shucks

Thanks for getting rid of Saddam after your daddy screwed everything up for us !

Contango

"Thanks to 'poppy' Bush betraying the Kurds.

Talk about rewriting... maroon."

@ goofus:

Really sad about the moronic nature of the "History challenged." The attack occurred in 1988 BEFORE the Gulf War.

Probably thinks WWII occurred in the 19th Century.

The Big Dog's back

Gee, who was in charge of the U. S. in 1988? Hmmmmmm. Let me think ...... Oh yeah, Poppy bush and ronnie raygun.

shucks

LOL ronnie raygun !

Contango

Regime change in Iraq was the stated policy of the U.S. beginning in 1998.

"The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 is a United States Congressional statement of policy calling for regime change in Iraq.

It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, and states that it is the policy of the United States to support democratic movements within Iraq.

The Act was cited in October 2002 to argue for the authorization of military force against the Iraqi government."

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

Both Pres. Clinton and VP Gore said at the time that Saddam had WMD.

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

deertracker

Now why would America want to change the regime in Iraq?

Contango

Of course you're right: History can be tough to understand for those with an Obama man-crush.

deertracker

History and truth can also be totally overlooked by those that are drowning in hate. Spin it all you want, fact is the American people were lied to and those that refuse to admit it are just clueless. History has been proven to be wrong but in your case it is just denial. How pitiful you are!

Contango

You spew ideology not knowledge.

The reasons for and the causes of events like the Great Depression and WWII are still being debated.

Unless you are God and are omniscient, for someone to say that they know ALL the who, what, when, where, why and how of past events only demonstrates ignorance.

arnmcrmn

The most recent huge lie that will have horrible effects on our economy and healthcare.....Obamacare.......of course, you remember, we have to pass it first to find out whats in it........Nanci Pelosi.

Contango

VP Biden at memorial service for the slain M.I.T. officer:

"But all kidding aside..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K...

Obama and Biden: The puppet and the nutzy wannabe comedian.

shucks

clowntango + computer = crazy man at computer

goofus

Smart as a whip you are LOL. Is your retort your own or did you get help from a parental unit!!!!

shucks

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

goofus

And yet he continues with his rapier wit and is just a real class act.

shucks

I feel the love.

arnmcrmn

Im telling you guys.....don't give in to their hypocrisy (liberals). When they know they are wrong, they can't simply MAN UP. They have to deflect. You guys let this topic get way off course.

Ignore them, read between their BS and lets have a convo about this idiot bomber.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Typical liberal hypocrites!

Centauri

Hey Sandusky Register moderators, why did you let this story go off topic with off topic comments? Also do something about the trolls and flamers who hijack the threads and try to pull people into online fights.