Man wants marathon bombing suspect to face victims
BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hasn’t appeared in court for more than a year. But prosecutors and a man who was severely injured in the bombings say they want to see him in a courtroom soon.
“I’d like to see him have to face us and see what he did to us,” Marc Fucarile, who lost his right leg and received other serious injuries, said Thursday after a status conference in the case.
Tsarnaev is legally allowed to skip pre-trial hearings. He has done that for every hearing since his arraignment in July 2013, and did it again Thursday.
At the status conference, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb told Judge George O’Toole Jr. that prosecutors would like Tsarnaev to be present Oct. 20 for what could be the final hearing before his scheduled Nov. 3 trial. Weinreb said prosecutors believe Tsarnaev should be at the hearing in case there are any issues that need to be addressed before trial.
David Bruck, one of Tsarnaev’s lawyers, was noncommittal on whether Tsarnaev will attend the hearing or the entire jury selection process.
“We’ll certainly take that up with him and see if there are any issues,” Bruck said.
Tsarnaev, 21, is being held in prison without bail as he awaits trial in last year’s attack.
Prosecutors say he and his older brother, Tamerlan, placed two pressure cooker bombs among crowds gathered near the marathon’s finish line. Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police several days later.
Tsarnaev’s lawyers have asked to move the trial outside Massachusetts and to delay it by nearly a year, until Sept. 2015 at the earliest.
During Thursday’s hearing, O’Toole said he will rule soon on the two requests.
He denied a defense motion to hold a hearing on their change-of-venue motion, saying he will decide the issue based on legal briefs already filed by both sides.
During arguments on the request to delay the trial, Bruck told the judge that the defense team needs more time to go through reams of evidence turned over by prosecutors. Bruck also cited comments made on the day of the bombings by President Barack Obama, who said investigators would find out who carried out the attack and why.
“We the defense are part of the process of getting to the bottom of this and perhaps for finding out why, which is the question that everyone — everyone — wants answered,” he said.
Weinreb said the defense has had enough time to prepare for trial and do their own investigation of the case.
“We don’t think that simply allowing more and more time will materially improve the jury’s understanding of the case,” he said.