THE 19-YEAR-OLD SUSPECT in the Boston Marathon bombings is awake and responding to questions put to him by authorities investigating the bombings and subsequent attacks, it has been reported.
The written responses are being issued after Tsarnaev sustained injuries to his throat and tongue at some point during the lengthy manhunt for Dzhokhar and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan on Friday.
NBC’s reports said Dzhokhar’s injuries may have been sustained in a failed suicide attempt at the climax of Friday’s manhunt. Tamerlan had been killed during an earlier exchange of gunfire with police.
The questions being put to the younger brother will likely focus on whether the brothers had planned more attacks, and inquiring about how the brothers, who are of Chechen ethnicity, became radicalised – if, indeed, their motivation related to Chechen separatism at all.
The US Department of Justice is still working on the charges it hopes to bring against Tsarnaev, having abandoned a draft timetable which would have seen the first charges published yesterday.
High among any charges will be the murder of four people – including three people killed in the Marathon bombings, and an MIT police officer who died when trying to accost the two suspects on Thursday evening at the beginning of the manhunt that finally caught them.
It is virtually certain that Tsarnaev will face charges at both state and federal level – a question that throws up some unusual difficulties, as Massachusetts does not impose the death penalty.
Over the weekend it emerged that the brothers had fired a pressure-cooker bomb – similar to those that detonated at the Marathon finish line on Monday – at police during the firefight.
It has also been suggested that Tamerlan Tsarnaev used an alias when travelling to Russia last year – a trip which the chair of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said could have marked “that final radicalisation to push him to commit acts of violence, and where he may have received training.”