Nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, better known as Jahar, has been questioned preliminarily by officials about his involvement in the bombings at the Boston Marathon, according to ABC News. Jahar, who has a bullet injury to his throat, indicated through head motions and occasional written answers that he and his deceased brother Tamerlan acted alone and were not affiliated with a larger terrorist group. He also indicated, a U.S. government source tells CNN, that his brother was a driving force behind the bombings and that he “wanted to defend Islam from attack.”
The 26-year-old brother is thought to have recently taken a turn toward radical Islam, and according to The Wall Street Journal, Tamerlan had become more confrontational about his religion, “engaging in arguments with other worshipers at a Cambridge mosque he sometimes attended, according to a mosque spokesman and worshipers there.”
CBS News reports that the FBI interviewed Tamerlan years ago, at the request of a foreign government, based on suspected ties to extremists, although they failed to find any incriminating evidence.
ABC News reports that Jahar has participated in an initial court appearance while being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is said to understand that he has been charged with using weapons of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property — charges that could result in the death penalty or life in prison.
The network has also reported that Jahar has scrawled answers to questions pertaining to whether there are unexploded bombs and other possible members involved in the cell, but no additional details have been released about his answers.
"Although our investigation is ongoing, today's charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country," Attorney General Eric Holder said in the statement. "We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
Most of Jahar’s communication has been limited to head movements due to the injury to his neck, but CNN reports that he did manage to squeak out the word “no” when asked if he could afford to hire a lawyer for his case.
The next court date will be held on May 30 and Jahar will be assigned a legal representative.
Sources: ABC News, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News
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