Alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in court today, showing his face to his victims in public for the first time since being captured in a boat in a Watertown, Massachusetts backyard in April. Arraigned in a Boston courtroom today, the 19-year-old reminded Americans that he isn't going to make it easy for us to put the horrors of Marathon Monday behind us. He's going to drag this thing out.
Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty today in a courtroom packed with victims and some of his sisters. He answered all charges against him, including weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and bombing of a place of public use resulting in death. His plea means the case is going to trial ... and the American people are going to have to pay for it.
You see, Tsarnaev's defense is a public one. That means that taxpayers are footing the bill, and part of today's court proceedings included instructions from the judge that his lawyer draft a defense budget -- which will have to be approved.
We all have the right to a defense, and it's clearly stated in our Miranda warning that if you cannot afford one, one will be provided.
But it's hard not to feel dirty at the notion that Massachusetts taxpayers who are still reeling from the devastation of Marathon Monday will have to pay for this man's defense.
Law or not, it comes off as yet another "screw you" to our nation, doesn't it?
First two guys who received welfare benefits thanks to hard-working American taxpayers were charged with terrorist acts against America. Now one of them will get to use money from hard-working American taxpayers to defend him against alleged terrorist acts ... against America.
If nothing else, it's frustrating.
Frustrating because the alleged bomber has allegedly already confessed to detonating two pressure cookers filled with explosives and shrapnel near the finish line of the April 15 marathon.
Frustrating because while he may have pleaded not guilty today to killing three and wounding more than 260, police say he confessed in the hospital shortly after being arrested. Not to mention we learned just a few months ago of a manifesto of sorts the younger Tsarnaev wrote out on the wall of the boat where he hid in Watertown before his capture. That note is alleged to include an admission that he and brother Tamerlan killed innocent people because the "US government is killing our innocent civilians.”
Because these crimes are federal, there is the possibility that the death penalty could be on the table (even though there is no death penalty in Massachusetts). No doubt a not guilty plea is Tsarnaev's attempt to save his backside, and we don't know what his attorney, who's represented the likes of Gabby Giffords shooter Jared Lee Loughner and the Unabomber, has up her sleeve.
What we do know is that this plea is a promise that things will drag out for months. Tsarnaev's next court date won't be until September 23.
Closure isn't coming any time soon for these poor families.
What do you make of the not guilty plea?
Image via Boston Police Department