For victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and their families, we are now one giant step closer to seeing justice be served. Today a grand jury charged Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on 30 counts, including using weapons of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, and killing four people. Over half of the charges could bring life in prison or the death penalty. Dzhokhar is 19 years old. You can read the grand jury's indictment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev online.
Dzhokhar is being charged for the deaths of student Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, and Krystle Marie Campbell as a result of the bombings, and officer Sean Collier days after the bombing. He is also being charged with malicious destruction of property and conspiracy, use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury, and the list goes on. It will be a depressing trial, but at least we're moving forward.
In a press conference this afternoon, FBI Special Agent Rick DesLauriers called the investigation a "massive undertaking." He added that Tsarnaev will be tried in a federal court, where, as with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the court was able to assign "substantial and severe" consequences. "For Tamerlan Tsarnaev, justice will begin in the next world, but for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, justice begins right here," DesLauriers said.
Will we ever find out why the Tsarnaev brothers planned their attack -- what pushed them from disaffection to violent aggression? Who knows. We've seen that they were gradually radicalized. According to the indictment, Tsarnaev wrote the following secret message/confession inside the boat he hid in while attempting to elude police in Watertown.
The U.S. government is killing innocent civilians; I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished; We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all; Now, I don’t like killing innocent people. It is forbidden in Islam but due to said [unintelligible] it is allowed; Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.
But if we're looking for that singular, dramatic event in these brothers' lives that pushed them to commit the worst, we may never find it. The trial may bring Dzhokhar justice, but closure is a completely different thing.
Tsarnaev will be arraigned in a U.S. District Court on July 10.
How long do you think Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial will last?
Image via Boston Police Department