Deborah Feyerick. Ross Levitt, and Matt Smith
July 10, 2013
Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faced more than two dozen survivors of that attack Wednesday as he pleaded not guilty to killing four people and wounding more than 200.
Tsarnaev is charged with 30 federal counts stemming from the April 15 attack, when a pair of bombs went off near the finish line of the packed course. Three people died in the blasts, including an 8-year-old boy, while a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed three days later at the start of the dramatic chase that led to Tsarnaev’s capture.
MIT police lined up outside the courthouse as the hearing neared its end Wednesday afternoon in a show of solidarity with their fallen comrade, Sean Collier. Inside, about 30 survivors of the attack watched as Tsarnaev appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler.
It was the first time he had been seen in public since his arrest. The 19-year-old was dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, his hair long and shaggy, his left arm in a cast. He was wounded in the pursuit — during which his brother, Tamerlan, was killed — and he appeared to have an injury to the left side of his face.
Tsarnaev looked back at the spectators in the packed courtroom before entering his plea — and to Liz Norden, whose two sons each had a leg amputated after the attacks, he appeared to smirk.
“He did have some family members in the courtroom, so I don’t know,” Norden told CNN. “But to me it was, like, no remorse whatsoever.”
Norden said her sons “really don’t want to hear about it,” but she said she had to be in court for them.
“I want to see what happened to my family that day,” she said. “I watch my boys struggle every day, and it breaks my heart. And I just want to see who or why it happened and who caused it.”
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Tsarnaev faces a total of 30 federal charges in the bombings and subsequent pursuit through the streets of suburban Boston. He appeared in court for arraignment.
Prosecutors said Wednesday they expect to call between 80 and 100 witnesses in a three- to four-month trial.
Tsarnaev was found in a motorboat dry-docked in the backyard of a Watertown, Massachusetts, home, covered in blood from bullet wounds sustained during a manhunt that brought Boston to a standstill.
Victims and their families tend to appear in person at trials at two key moments, said CNN legal analyst Paul Callan: at the arraignment and at the verdict and sentencing.
“It’s not something they want to watch on television. They want to be there,” he said.