Accused Boston Marathon bomber due in court as trial openings loom

By REUTERS
March 2, 2015 15:45
1 minute read.

 
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BOSTON - Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is due in court on Monday for a hearing in which defense lawyers and federal prosecutors will tussle over a few remaining logistical matters before opening statements later this week.

A final flurry of motions was filed under seal on Friday, offering little clarity on what lawyers will debate Monday.

Tsarnaev, 21, is accused of killing three people and injuring 264 with two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race's crowded finish line on April 15, 2013, and with fatally shooting a police officer three days later as he tried to flee the city.

He could face a death sentence if convicted of carrying out the largest mass-casualty attack on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001. Tsarnaev's brother Tamerlan, who authorities say joined him in the crimes, was killed in a shootout with police a few days after the bombing.

Tsarnaev's attorneys lost a round on Friday with a three-judge appellate panel rejected their request to move the trial out of Boston. The defense had been seeking the move for months, arguing that it would be all but impossible to seat an impartial jury due to the large number of Bostonians with a personal connection to the attack.

Defense lawyers last week challenged the jury-selection process, arguing that the court violated some of its own rules while winnowing down the field of more than 1,350 potential jurors first called to U.S. District Court in Boston in early January.

On Tuesday, attorneys will make the final cuts from the remaining pool of about 70 qualified jurors to pick the panel of 12 jurors and six alternates to hear the case. U.S. District Judge George O'Toole has said proceedings could last into June.

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