Dzhokhar Tsarnaev expected to attend final pre-trial hearing, Boston Marathon bombing suspect has not been seen in public since he was arraigned on 30 federal charges in July 2013, when he still bore signs of the bloody standoff with police that led to his capture and the death of his older brother, Tamerlan.[fwdevp preset_id=”8″ video_path=”_06ZyebZSb8″]
At the time of that appearance, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s left arm was in a cast and his face appeared swollen, signs of the injuries suffered during a gunbattle with police on the night of April 18, 2013, that ended with the death of his brother, Tamerlan, also accused with playing a role in the attack.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped that conflict, prompting a day-long lockdown of most of the greater Boston area, before he was found hiding in a drydocked boat in a Watertown, Massachusetts, backyard the next evening.
He faces the possibility of execution if convicted in a trial expected to run for three months. The court plans to weed through more than 1,000 people to find 12 jurors and six alternates to hear the case.
Thursday’s hearing is the final pre-trial conference in Tsarnaev’s case. In the weeks leading up to the trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys are disputing a range of issues including how much they must disclose about the witnesses they plan to call.
The Tsarnaev brothers had moved to the United States from Russia’s restive Chechnya region a decade before the attack. Dzhokhar left a scrawled note inside the boat where he was captured indicating that the marathon attack had been motivated by U.S. military campaigns in Muslim countries.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorneys had asked that the trial be held outside Boston, contending that since hundreds of thousands of spectators attend the Boston Marathon, it would be all but impossible to find an impartial panel of people who had not been present the day of the attack or known someone who had been.
U.S. District Judge George O’Toole denied that request, noting the court had recently seated juries in other high-profile cases, including the 2013 trial of former mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger, who was found guilty of racketeering and murder.